Finding Meaning in Winter Fruit Salad

Finding Meaning in Winter Fruit Salad

Do you love to eat foods imbued with symbolism? With the Tu B’Shvat holiday approaching on the eve of February 3 we have an opportunity to pause and connect nature’s wondrous cycles with deeper meaning while enjoying tasty fruits and grains.

The holiday of Tu B’Shvat (15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat) is often called the birthday of the trees.


Why do trees need birthdays?

There was a Biblical injunction against eating fruit from trees that were younger than three years old (Leviticus 19:23). Even if you planted trees just a few weeks ago, they would still mark their first birthday on February 4 this year.

So all trees had the same birthday and their ages could be calculated.

Pretty clever, eh?


Every year, before I write my post in honor of this holiday, I grab my camera, bundle up and wander about my beautiful frozen yard.


It’s a quiet time to reflect and pay closer attention to what’s happening in the ground and on the trees now that we are firmly in the coldest months of winter.


I am always surprised by what I see.

When we moved to this home, almost 20 years ago, we transplanted a couple of small’ish cherry trees. I wrapped them securely in burlap blankets, “heeled” them in for the winter and found a sunny spot to plant them in the spring. They flourished in their new home and surprised us by flowering twice that year.

They have flowered twice (sometimes more than twice!) every year since.


There is nothing so strange as seeing those pink blossoms in January. I’ve learned that it’s very rare for small flowering trees to bloom more than once a year.


I’m relieved to learn that they are of a a rare species rather than examples of terrifying global warming. These Autumn Blooming Cherries are my favorites.

As we celebrate the birthday of the trees on Tu B’Shvat we focus on the seven species native to Israel and mentioned in the Bible. They are wheat, barley, olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates (Deut. 8:8).

We’ll be celebrating by eating this colorful fruit salad created by Jennifer Abadi. It contains 4 of the 7 species mentioned. Enjoy this sunny dish for dessert or with yogurt for breakfast.

To read more about Tu B’Shvat and to see other recipes that include the seven species click here to find Molly Katzen’s Grilled Bread Salad with Figs and Walnuts


and here to find Kim Kushner’s Pecan Fig Biscotti.

photo courtesy of Kim Kushner, THE MODERN MENU
photo courtesy of Kim Kushner, THE MODERN MENU


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