Last night we celebrated Tu Bishvat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees. Tu Bishvat is traditional holiday where we plant trees and eat food from the seven species (wheat, barley, olives, pomegranate, figs, dates and grapes) mentioned in Deuteronomy. Although they are not mentioned in the same verse, almonds also have a special significance for the holiday because they are one of the first trees to bloom in the spring in Israel and have the symbolism of fertility and rebirth.

This holiday celebrates the “rebirth” of the trees. Tu Bishvat marks the beginning of the slow process when the trees begin blossoming and flowering with new life and new fruit.

To celebrate we host our annual Tu Bishvat seder. Unfortunately I didn’t realize Tu Bishvat was really early this month so most of my guests were not available to attend. Luckily, our friends Matt and Liz were able to attend and brought the perfect host gift for Tu Bishvat.

IMG_5172Yup it’s a basket full of homegrown broccoli. Yum! Check out Liz’s gardening site here.

The menu consisted of

The 7 species; wheat, barley, olives, pomegranate, figs, dates and grapes.IMG_5170Orange, Red Onion and Olive Salad Recipe orange-salad Jeweled Rice recipe 230991Chicken With Olives, Prunes and Pomegranates Recipe chikcenAnd for dessert we had Maple Walnut Chiffon Cake Recipe IMG_5177The following day I volunteered to do a Tu Bishvat project at Sarah’s school. I read a Tu Bishvat book and then we each made a My Little Sprout House.IMG_5179 IMG_5189

After every kid colored their house they placed water soaked cotton balls and water soaked lima beans in their plastic bag. Then Sarah’s teacher helped the kids cut the middle part of the house. Then I taped each baggie onto the back of their house. IMG_5192 IMG_5196The kids did a wonderful job! I can’t wait to see how their plants have grown in just a few days.

We had so much cake leftover I decided to package a slice for each teacher for Sarah to pass out.IMG_5200Later that afternoon Sarah and I packed and dropped off dried fruit with plastic shovels to our friends in the community. shovels no nameJust like previous years Sarah plants our first plant of the season. IMG_5205 IMG_5206 IMG_5207 IMG_5210Even though Punxsutawney Phil says it will be winter for another 6 weeks I say Spring has started. With 80 degree afternoons it feels like anything but winter.

Happy Tu Bishvat to those who celebrate!

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