This week, up and down the country, trees will be planted and unusual quantities of fruit will be eaten to celebrate the festival of Tu B’Shvat (the 15th day of the month of Shvat) – the annual birthday of the trees. It’s traditional, as well as planting (we’ll be planting a new tree on our porch), to eat as many different varieties of fruit as possible. In that this is not the harvest festival however, interesting fresh fruits are not all that plentiful and it’s therefore pretty common to use dried fruits to supplement.
The shuk today was buzzing, with dried fruit displays much in evidence and a few unusual fruits around so that people can say the additional Shechecheyanu blessing over a fruit which hasn’t been eaten in the past year.
I picked up some Mejool dates for my son’s school party (no other dates compare) at one of my favourite stores and proceeded to wander around and soak up the atmosphere. Kiwis are available; strawberries have shot up in price and the store holders have taken to using one of my least favourite practices – posting the price for half a kilo so that it appears cheaper – caveat emptor! Citrus fruits are cheap and plentiful. I spotted Carambolas (star fruit) in a couple of places and reasonably priced – look fun but don’t taste of much.
Pitangas and something called “King of the Desert” which is presumably some sort of cactus fruit – which look interesting…
We are always on the look-out for interesting projects to do with our kids – I thought I’d share a few ideas that I turned up from around the web based on what’s seasonal.
One of the songs that accompanies the festival is “Hashkeidia Porachat” – the Almond tree is blooming – so a candied almond recipe seems an appropriate place to start.
Despite the fact that they’re a little expensive, chocolate covered strawberries are always a hit and a kilo as a treat is still only about NIS 23. Kids will be happy to help with dipping, licking, eating
Then take the less pretty strawberries from your punnet add yogurt and kiwi fruit and make strawberry-kiwi smoothies!
Also kid friendly – and adult delicious too is grilled banana smores – bananas grilled with chocolate chips and marshmallows – what could be bad (other than your waistline)?
Candied kumquats are more an adult snack – tiny little orange coloured jewels and an excellent contrast of the bitterness of the fruit and the sugary sweetness.
Lastly fruit roll ups – very simple and kids love them – at least here you can control the sugar content!
A late addition – this is simply brilliant!!