Tu B’Shevat is (almost) Here

I love Tu B’Shevat, because it always brings warmth and sweetness to the winter, and is a much tastier reminder than Groundhog’s day that winter is nearly over. Tu B’Shevat is called the Rosh Hashana for trees, and many celebrate this holiday by eating a lot of different kinds of fruit particularly fruit associated with Eretz Yisroel. We make special blessings on 7 kinds of food that characterize the Land of Israel, including figs, pomegranates, dates, barley, grapes, wheat and olives. Although not all of these foods grow on trees and not all of them are fruits, it is a tradition to eat at least some of them on Tu B’Shevat.

Some people make a Tu B’Shevat “seder” with different fruit arranged on plates and passed around and eaten at certain times. Tu B’Shevat is a great time to get together with friends, to eat fruit and to drink a glass of wine (wine, since it is made of grapes, is also traditional on Tu B’Shevat). Since the more exotic kinds of fruit and nuts can be quite expensive, I like to get together with friends, and we each buy certain types of fruit. Then we each take a sample and pass it around. This takes some of the edge off of the holiday’s cost and is also a fun way to share Tu B’Shevat.

Planting trees in Eretz Israel is a more modern Tu B’Shevat tradition and there are organizations which take donations to plant more trees all over the country. It is easy to order a tree on the internet and the rest is done for you. This is a lovely tradition, and it helps keep our country green and beautiful.

It is written that when the messiah comes, all trees will bear fruit and food will grow in its prepared form. Tu B’Shevat is a good time to remember this ideal era which is fast approaching, because, according to Isaiah, all good things will be as abundant as dust.

Here are some fruit recipes you can try for your TuB’Shevat party. If your oven and utensils are ordinarly used for meat meals, you can replace the milk with soya milk and use margarine or canola oil instead of butter.
Fresh Peach Cobbler
Blueberry Nectarine Crisp