Tu B’Shvat is one of 4 new years in Jewish Tradition. Celebrated on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shvat, this holiday gives us a chance to think about and celebrate the earth. Beginning with the rabbis in the 15th century, it has become a tradition to honor Tu B’Shvat with a Tu B’shvat seder. Below are the top 10 ways you can celebrate Tu B’Shvat this year in a healthy and sustainable way. To find out more information and suggestions from Hazon for Tu B’Shvat, visit the Hazon Tu B’Shvat Resource Page.
1) Go Out and Plant!
Tu B’Shvat is a great time to start your garden, and gives you sufficient time start growing so that you can use it during Passover! Take the time during this holiday to plant with your family and you can experience picking and eating your very own homegrown fruits and veggies. No space for an outdoor garden? There are plenty of ways to grow veggies and plants in an indoor garden. Check out ways to start your indoor garden from a gardening expert!
2) Tu B’Shvat Recipes
How many of the seven species can you incorporate into your Tu B’shvat dinner? Check out this recipe for some delicious inspiration: Cous Cous with Dried Fruit & Nuts Recipe originally from The Jew and the Carrot • 1 pound (2 2/3 cups) instant couscous (not Israeli style) • 4 cups boiling water • ½ cup granulated sugar • ½ to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter or margarine, melted • ¾ cup (3.5 ounces) raisins • ¾ cup (5 ounces) chopped pitted dates • ¾ cup (3.5 ounces) chopped dried apricots • ¾ cup (3.75 ounces) chopped blanched almonds • ¾ cup (3 ounces) chopped walnuts or 1/3 cup pine nuts • about 2 cups almond milk or hot milk • additional ground cinnamon for garnish Pour boiling water over couscous. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir the sugar and cinnamon into the butter. Pour over the couscous, tossing to coat. Stir in the raisins, dates, apricots, almonds, and pine nuts. Gradually add enough of the almond milk to moisten the couscous. Mound the couscous on a large platter and sprinkle with the additional cinnamon. For other Tu B’Shvat recipes, look here.
3) Celebrate the Trees
Take this opportunity to celebrate the nature that surrounds you! For a fun family or community activity, take pictures of trees in the winter and see if you can identify the trees without their leaves. Since Tu B’Shvat can be viewed as a “birthday” of trees, find the age of trees in your yard or neighborhood by using this calculation tool.
4) Test Your Environmental Impact
Use Tu B’Shvat to test your knowledge on local, environmental issues. Allow Tu B’Shvat to open a door to finding more about your local habitat and ways to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
5) Host a Sustainable Tu B’Shvat Seder
Join with family and friends, and host a seder using the Hazon Tu B’Shvat haggadah and sourcebook! You can add to your Sustainable Tu B’Shvat Seder by serving local, organic wine: see our list of kosher organic wines. You can also go vegetarian for your Sustainable Tu B’Shvat Seder.
6) Bake Sustainable Tu B’Shvat Challah
Get creative with your challah by adding one, or many, of the seven species. To get really creative, try decorating your challah with a free-formed pomegranate out of dough.
7) Reuse and Recycle
In modern times, Tu B’shvat has been transformed into a holiday embracing nature, which allows us to focus our intentions on many environmental areas. In addition to supporting sustainable eating, try to cut down waste by using reusable, or compostable, dishes and recycle when possible. For resources and suggestions, visit the Hazon Food Guide.
Collect leftover fruit and vegetable scraps from your Tu B’Shvat seder and add them to your compost pile (or bring them to a composting facility). You’re kicking off the new year of the trees by contributing to soil fertility and the cycles of life!
9) Use Meals as Midrash
Use Tu B’Shvat as a platform to have meaningful and useful conversations with the family and friends at your table.
10) Eat Local
If you live in an area with a variety of seasonal, winter offerings, use this to your advantage by eating local. In the south, citrus fruits are in season and can provide a great addition to the Tu B’Shvat celebration: try citrus curls in your drinks, lemon curd for desert, or roast chicken with oranges and lemons inside.
It’s not too late to celebrate Tu B’Shvat with Hazon. Join us at Pinot and Pomegranate on January 26