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Posted on Wed, Feb 8, 2012 : 8 a.m.

Orange, date and almond salad a perfect recipe for the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shevat

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

Tu B'Shevat [TOO bay shuh-VAHT] — the Jewish New Year of the Trees — began at sundown last night and continues through today.  It is traditional to celebrate the holiday by having a tree planted in Israel; by eating a new fruit; or by holding a seder in which specific fruits are eaten in a particular order, along with the recitation of blessings.

It is also customary to enjoy dried fruits and nuts — such as figs, apricots, pecans, walnuts, etc. — although eating any type of fruit is a lovely way to acknowledge the beauty and bounty of trees.

According to "The Bible expresses a great reverence for fruit trees as symbols of God's... beneficence. Special laws were formulated to protect (them) in times of war and ensure that the produce of trees would not be picked until the trees were mature enough and tithes were given from them."  Respect for trees and care for the environment are deeply ingrained in Judaism.

Just because the recipe for today's salad is ridiculously simple and only requires four ingredients, don't underestimate the impact of its taste!  The brightness of the oranges, the sweetness of the dates, the tartness of the pomegranate molasses ... it's an intensely flavorful combination.  And the almonds contribute a lovely crunch to contrast with the softness of the fruits.

In honor of Tu B'Shevat, you can serve the Orange, Date and Almond Salad featured below which showcases the glorious produce of trees.  You could also offer some other dishes which feature a variety of delicious fruits and nuts, such as olives, lemons, cherries, chocolate, oranges, quince, bananas, hazelnuts and more:

Braised Chicken Thighs in Lemony Olive Sauce

White Chocolate and Cherry Brownies

Lemon-Glazed Cherry Pasties

Chocolate Cherry Kugel

Zesty Lemon Spaghetti

Chocolate-Glazed Orange Cake

Quince-Glazed Baked Yams

Banana Nutella Cake

Triple Orange Brownies

Orange, Date and Almond Salad

4 large oranges
3/4 cup pitted dates, chopped
1/3 cup almonds, lightly toasted, chopped
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

Cut the ends off the oranges, then stand them upright and slice off the peels.  Turn the oranges on their sides and cut into thick slices, then place onto a serving dish.

Sprinkle the dates and almonds over the oranges.

Drizzle the pomegranate molasses over everything.

Serves 4.

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Mary Bilyeu writes about her adventures in the kitchen - making dinner, celebrating holidays, entering cooking contests ... whatever strikes her fancy. She is also on a mission to find great deals for her Frugal Floozie Friday posts, seeking fabulous food at restaurants on the limited budget of only $5 per person. Feel free to email her with questions or comments or suggestions:

You should also visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — on which she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related.

The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.