Tu B’Shevat, also called Tu B’Shevet, is the “New Year for the Trees.” Several new year celebrations – and myriad holidays – are celebrated by Jewish people. This holiday may not be as well-known or widely celebrated as say, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur or Hanukkah. Still, the holiday is steeped in the traditions of our forefathers and their relationship with the land. Tu B’Shevat dates back to the period of the Second Temple (515 BCE-20CE).
Shevat, the eleventh month of the Jewish calendar, occurs in January or February. According to Jewish law, trees “come of age” on Tu B’Shevat. Leviticus 19:23-25 tells us that in the first three years of a tree’s life, no fruit may be eaten. In the fourth year, only G-d partakes of the fruit. Afterwards, all people may enjoy the fruit. Tu B’Shevat enables us to calculate the age of a planted tree.
Ways to Celebrate Tu B’Shevat:
Plant a tree with your family and friends. It is a fun way to show children the importance of nurturing and caring for the environment.
Enjoy fruit throughout the day. This is in keeping with the holiday, pleases your palate, and boosts your health.
Give gifts of fruit to family and friends. Sharing with others grows good will throughout your community.
Eat a fruit you have never tasted. You may find a persimmon, quince or Asian pear to be a novel and delectable experience.
Have a Tu B’Shevat Seder or a symbolic meal to mark the holiday. Enjoy scrumptious food and gather with loved ones.
Pickle or candy “etrog” (citrus fruit). This is a fun way to cook with your chldren or friends – and enjoy the “fruits of your labor” afterwards.
Prepare a dish consisting of Shivat Haminim, such as the festive Shivat Haminim Pilaf Salad, below.
Shivat Haminim is derived from Deuteronomy 8:18. Seven special foods associated with the Land of Israel in the Torah are highlighted, including:
Grapes or Vines
Shivat Haminim Pilaf salad incorporates Shivat Haminim into a vibrant dish to share with your family and friends. It is also a colorful and tasty way to expose young children to new flavors and textures. It connects our families to the foods and fruits of our homeland, Israel. In this modern interpretation, farro represents the wheat, olive oil the olives and raisins the grape or vine.
Shivat Haminim Pilaf Salad (Vegetarian, Parve)
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. fine salt
- 1 tsp. cracked black pepper
- 3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp. floral honey
- 1/2 cup orange juice, or the juice of two oranges, divided
- optional: the zest of two oranges
- 1 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup dry barley, prepared according to package directions and drained
- 1/3 cup dry farro, prepared according to packaged directions and drained
- 1 cup quinoa, prepared according to packaged directions and fluffed with a fork
- The seeds and juice of two large pomegranates
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 3 “baby” clementine oranges, cut into very small pieces with a serrated knife
- 6 Medjool dried dates, seeds removed and diced into small pieces
- 6 brown or white dried figs, stems removed and , diced into small pieces
- Fully prepare your ingredients and set on the countertop.
- Combine the garlic, rosemary, oregano, salt, pepper, mustard, honey, 1/4 cup orange juice, balsamic vinegar and the orange zest (if using) in a food processor.
- Process the mixture until very smooth.
- Slowly drizzle in all of the olive oil. Set aside.
- Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with the remaining 1/4 cup of orange juice. Microwave for one minute. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked barley, farro and quinoa. Mix in the pomegranate seeds and juice, the clementine oranges, dates and figs.
- Add 1/2 cup of the balsamic vinaigrette mixture made earlier in the food processor to the ingredients in the large bowl. Stir very well. Reserve the remaining vinaigrette for later use.
- Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
- Refrigerate the salad for a minimum of several hours, or overnight, so the grains can absorb the vinaigrette and the flavors can develop.
- Enjoy on Tu B’Shevat – or any day. L’Chayim!
©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.