Our kitchen and dining room overlook a lovely garden, with a couple of old trees where lots of adorable little squirrels have made their nest. Every now and then, a big, bushy gray tail pops up on one of the windows, a sign that they are watching us and wondering if what we are putting on the table is more or less interesting than their usual fare. This week our little fuzzy friends might be paying us more visits: the ingredients I laid out to bake for Tu’ Bishvat are an irresistible attraction.
In the Jewish Tradition, Tu’ Bishvat may be technically a minor holiday, but its special eco-message that we should connect with God through nature resonates very deeply with many of us. Many people celebrate this special “Birthday of the Trees” eating dried fruits and nuts, particularly those associated with the Promised Land! A kabbalistic tradition teaches that eating three different types of fruits creates a mystical connection with the Tree of life from the Garden of Eden. The first type are those fruits and nuts with inedible exteriors and edible insides, like oranges, bananas and many nuts. The second type are those fruits that have soft edible exteriors but a hard pit inside (like dates, apricots, etc). Finally, fruit that is eaten whole, like figs and berries. You can taste all this fruity-nutty goodness in these special honey-rye breads. For more Tu’ Bishvat recipes, you can check my old posts here.