Kitchen Nutrition: Winter Fruit Salads

I forgot about another holiday in February. It’s a Jewish holiday that corresponds to Arbor Day in America, but in Israel it takes place in their Spring, which is now. It is called Tu B’Shvat and in English is called The Holiday of the Trees. In Israel, children plant trees. In the northen US the winter ground is still not ready for planting, but children in synagogues plant seeds in cups to represent growth. (Trees may be planted later.)

The information below is from the Seder we attended, using information compiled by Rabbi Marjorie Berman, who used several sources, mainly from two synagogues in San Francisco. This Seder is based on the Passover Seder, except fruits and nuts area served in a special order divided into four parts, representing the four worlds of the Jewish mystics.

The first world is the World of Action and represents earth and the winter season, with a serving of white wine, symbolizing Nature’s going to sleep in winter. Just as we cover ourselves with warm clothes in winter, the fruits that symbolize this world are those fruits and nuts with a hard shell, such as pomegranates, coconuts, walnuts and almonds. “We crack the shells of the nuts and release the divine sparks for Tikun Olam, healing of the world. We crack the shells of our own preoccupations and our own pains.” pom.jpeg

The second world is the World of Formation represented by water and the season of Spring, when we expose more of our bodies to the warm weather, drinking white wine with a dash of red to represent the coming of warmer weather with the reawakening of colors. The fruits of this world are olives, dates, apricots, peaches and any fruit with a hard pit in the center. While eating fruits of the emotional world, “may our hearts be open to the feelings and needs of others, allowing the warmth of our care through the world.” dates.jpeg

The third world is the World of Creation represented by air and the Summer with a serving of red wine with a dash of white to remind us that as the land warms up and fruit colors deepen as they become ripe, we become more open and warm. The fruits of this world are berries, apples, figs, raisins and any other fruits that are fully edible. In our most precious relationships, this world of soft fruits parallels our being totally available to them, with no inner or outer shells to mask our feelings. berries.jpeg

The fourth world is the World of Emanation which is purely spiritual and represented by Autumn and fire. Only deep red wine is served, because in the spiritual world no material substance can be represented. In this world our hearts are full and become aware of love, mercy, and wisdom. (Seems perfect for Valentine’s Day! es)
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What I love about this holiday is that no animal or plant had to die. All the fruits and nuts are picked from trees or plants that continue to grow and produce more of their fruits. This is a vegan’s delight!

With the idea of The Holiday of the Trees and Fruits of the Vines, I offer two winter fruit salads to enjoy:


Mixed Fruit Salad I

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Utensils: Cutting board, knife, bowl
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cook. Time: None
Category: Vegan

Ingredients
one organic Bosc pear (or other pear of your choice)
one organic Gala apple (or other apple of your choice)
2 organic green or yellow kiwi, peeled
1/4 c. pomegranate seeds
1/4-1/2 c. Pom juice or apple juice

Directions
1. Wash and dice the apples and pears, removing stems and seeds.
2. Peel and dice the kiwi.
3. Place apples, pears, and kiwi in a bowl. Add pomegranate seeds.
4. Toss everything gentle with juice and serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.
Optional: Add slivered almonds or chopped walnuts or pecans

Note: If you feel the salad is too tart, feel free to drizzle on some maple syrup or agave syrup (from cactus plant).


Mixed Fruit Salad II

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Utensils: Cutting board, knife, bowl
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cook. Time: None
Category: Vegan

Ingredients
1/2 cup organic blueberries
1/2 cup organic blackberries
one or two green kiwi, peeled and diced
1/4 c. pomegranate seeds
1/4-1/2 c. juice
Optional: Add pistachio halves or any nuts of your choosing

Directions
1. Place peeled kiwi in a bowl.
2. Add berries and pomegranate seeds.
3.Toss fruits gently and moisten with juice and serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.

Note: If you feel the salad is too tart, feel free to drizzle on some maple syrup or agave syrup (from cactus plant).

Suggestion:
Consider one or two fruits and nuts from the three worlds above, such as pomegranates from world #1 (for February), mango or papaya from world #2, and grapefruit slices from world #3 and toss with slivered almonds. If you are really bold, you can substitute red and/or white wine in place of the fruit juice.

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