Tu B’Shevat, the 15th day of the month of Shevat, is the New Year of the Trees. It starts this year on Wednesday evening, January 15th, 2014. It celebrates the time in Israel when the rainy season is coming to an end and the first buds begin to appear on the trees. In ancient times and today, trees have always been very important in Israel, providing fruit for food and shade and transforming an arid country into a green and rich land. It is customary to eat fruits and nuts typically found in Israel such as figs, dates, walnuts, almonds, pomegranates, apples, oranges and olives. Some people celebrate the holiday by holding a Tu B’Shevat Seder, modeled after the Passover Seder, eating many of the above foods accompanied by four cups of wine consisting of white and red wines mixed together!
Here is a dish that is made from fruits from Israel: dates and oranges. Great served on toast on Tu B’Shevat morning or at any time. It is so easy and one that will become a favorite.
Date Orange Spread
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup of orange juice
Zest from ¼ orange or more to taste (optional)
- Place dates and orange juice (and zest if using) in small pan. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cook for about 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally, breaking up the bits of dates. Stir. Will thicken as it cooks. Remove from pan and cool. Store in a container in fridge. Keeps for up to a week.
You can also use it in a trifle or as filling in Hamantashen.Get creative!