When I first moved to Israel as a twenty something, I found myself one day preparing for an autumn holiday, wanting to make a fruit salad. The fruit salad I had always made was inspired by my mothers recipe, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple and cantaloupe, with an orange citrus and mint sauce to go with it.
I searched high and low for the fruits so I could make this delicious and refreshing fruit salad, but alas, there were none to be found.
Giving up, I reluctantly used fruits sitting in a fruit bowl on my kitchen table . . . pulpy persimmons, the plumpest medjool dates, the fullest seediest figs, and the sourest citrus; and I threw into the mix some freshly grown mint. Of course, it turned out delicious. Not only did I learn my lesson about embracing new adventures rather than trying to replicate the old, but I discovered the joy of combining these unexpected fruits.
With Tu bShvat almost upon us, I am gearing into preparations for this minor one day holiday. Not that this is its purpose, but with so many holiday treats packed into the last few months, it is such a good opportunity for a winter cleanse. It feels good to focus on fruits of the tree.
Granted, almonds and blushing white almond blossoms, along with the fragrant etrog and fruits of the Seven Species, are the primary association of Tu bShvat. But really any and all fruits are its essence.
It is such a delight to be enveloped by a blast of color in the middle of a velvet white winter. Take citrus fruits. O the hues of color! Pink grapefruits, green limes, yellow lemons, orange clementines and tangerines, and those purple amethyst colored blood oranges.