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Feb 6 2012

Tu Bishvat in Candyland

By at 10:47 am
Tu Bishvat Candy

No time to plan a 15-course fruit seder for Tu Bishvat? Try candy.

The holiday of Tu Bishvat, a.k.a. the birthday of the trees, starts at sundown tomorrow. Tu Bishvat is a field day for all environmentally-conscious families: an ideal ground from which to explore, celebrate and protect all things ecological. Kabbalists gave it a 15-course fruit seder of its own back in the 16th century, which is still observed in some fashion today. But if you want to make this tradition more tangible for your kids, we have some candy recommendations for you.

To read the rest of Joanna’s piece, click here.

Feb 3 2012

Friday Night: Tu Bishvat Recipe Roundup

By at 10:14 am

Well, it’s that time of year again: the birthday of the trees. My 2.5-year-old loves celebrating birthdays, so I think we’ll have to do something special for all those trees. As usual, I look to the internet for my inspiration–and oh man, am I inspired! So inspired that I can’t decide where to start… but I’m determined that one of these (or more, maybe) will land on my Shabbat dinner table tonight. Nothing like starting the celebration early, right? (Tu Bishvat officially begins on Tuesday night, Feb 7.)

First of all, here at Kveller we have some delicious new ways to celebrate trees. Like these date-orange muffins from Ronnie Fein: date muffins

Or this chocolate and fruit fondue from Leah Schapira at–easy and kid-friendly.chocolate fondue

There’s also lemon-almond-semolina cake, persimmon and pistachio cupcakes, and lemon-lavender cake. In case you needed more sweets, that is. For a walk on the savory side, try these fig and goat cheese sandwiches with caramelized onions. Dee-lish.

Tu Bishvat sandwich

Oh, and did I mention that sangria is VERY Tu Bishvat-friendly? There’s a lot of fruit in that wine.

Our friend Tori Avey over at The Shiksa in the Kitchen made these Seven Species muffins, using all of the “seven species” mentioned in the Torah: barley, wheat, grapes, figs, pomegranates, dates, and olives. I’m kind of impressed that she got all of those into one muffin–and knowing her, it’s got to be scrumptious!


Joy of Kosher reminds us that you actually can make Tu Bishvat recipes not just from fruit, but from trees themselves when you use ingredients like cinnamon. I’m a little bit excited about this cinnamon chocolate cake: cinnamon chocolate cake

And just in case you needed more Tu Bishvat deliciousness, over at The Jew and the Carrot they’re using almonds to celebrate the birthday of the trees, with a pomegranate and sour cherry mandelbrot (like a biscotti) and a quinoa pilaf. Enjoy!

Feb 2 2012

On the Farm: Nursing our Fledgling Apple Orchard

By at 10:22 am
apple branch

The beginnings of what will eventually be our apples.

Years ago my husband and I volunteered on Kibbutz Sde Eliahu in Israel, working in an organic vineyard and vegetable garden. On Tu Bishvat, kibbutzniks we had never seen in the fields came to help in the garden for a few hours. When we left the kibbutz, the leader of the vineyard gave us a little farewell blessing. We didn’t understand it all but he definitely said to “have children” and “plant trees with real roots, not just tomatoes.”

So, we returned home and pretty much got to work following his instructions. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 1 2012

Tu Bishvat Contest: Who Needs a Date?

By at 4:18 pm

Serving bowl not included.

Tu Bishvat is all about the trees and fruit. And while it would be difficult to give away a whole tree, we are offering up some yummy fruit, and by that we mean a box of dates.

Here at Kveller, we’re partnering with our contributor Tanya Tolchin, who has a farm in Maryland and runs an organization called Israeli Harvest. The organization supports farming in Israel by offering Israeli farm products in the United States.

So if you win this contest, you’ll get a package of delicious, giant, and amazing medjool dates, straight from Israel. (Note: we can only deliver to people within the continental U.S, unfortunately.) A great way to celebrate Tu Bishvat, for sure! Oh, and if you don’t win, you can always order your own package of deliciousness right here.

To enter? Just name your favorite fruit below and we’ll select a reader at random by Friday at 5 pm. Good luck!

(Tu Bishvat, often called the birthday of the trees, starts on Tuesday night, February 7. The holiday is celebrated by eating new fruit, drinking some wine, and appreciating trees and the environment in all their glory.)


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