Back around Rosh Hashana, we blogged about the custom of holding a new year’s seder, a meal comprised of various seasonal fruits and vegetables which symbolize good fortune and bounty. Just to make matters even more confusing, there’s a third type of seder, the one held on Tu b’Shevat, or Jewish Arbor Day, which this year is on January 20th.
It seems that the concept linking these three different meals is the beginning of cycles, whether it’s a fresh start for trees, calendars, or, in the case of Passover, the birth of a nation. In recent years the Tu b’Shevat seder has become somewhat modish, as people’s concern for the origin of food is growing. Whether it be organic, free range, slow food, or artisan, this interest in ecology and agriculture fits nicely with a holiday tied directly to plant life and renewal.
So what does this seder entail? Typically the fruits of Israel are featured prominently, notably dates, figs, pomegranates and dates. Dried versions of these fruits are usually eaten, and the biblical almond and dried carob are also commonly included. But feel free to get creative and indulge in any kind of seasonal fruit. For example, try this winter fruit salad (pictured above) featuring fuyu persimmon, tart apples, fresh mint and studded with ruby red pomegranate seeds – wonderfully refreshing and earthy. And feel free to jazz this up with pineapple, kiwi or whatever is in at your local grocer.