Posts Tagged: Strawberries Results 4
Our family likes to celebrate Valentine’s Day, which I realize isn’t a Jewish holiday, but makes for harmless fun, especially when the grandkids are involved. Some of the best times are when we cook together. The children feel proud of their efforts and wind up with something delicious. I get to pass on a zillion bits of wisdom and, hopefully, some good memories of their Grandma for down the road.
Cheesecake with strawberry glaze is just one of the great way to use local summer strawberries. (You’ll also find recipes for a quick cocoa spice cake with fresh strawberry frosting and an orange chiffon cake with strawberry sauce below.)
Well, it is indeed winter here in the Holy Land. The warming lights of Hannukah have passed us by, and the days are still feeling short. Temperatures in the Tel Aviv area usually fall between 10C and 22C (50F-72F), while folks in the Jerusalem area suffer a bit more with temperatures getting as low as 0C (32F). Perhaps this seems laughable to folks in colder regions of North America, but keep in mind that our homes are not equipped for the cold, with most everyone depending on space heaters or dual heating/cooling air conditioner units. Luckily, Israelis are a warm and open people and are perfectly comfortable snuggling up with one another during these cold months. We all get by.
Yet winter is a time of growth and renewal in Israel. Winter satiates the earth’s thirst with its rains, and with that comes a blanket of green that envelops the land. As it has for thousands of years, the land continues to feed and nourish its inhabitants despite the temperature shifts. Fall and early winter offerings, fruits like guavas and persimmons, and nuts like walnuts and pecans, are nearing the end of their time, while the citrus trees continue to bless the land with their beauty and their tasty fruits. A quick drive through any residential area will reveal a multitude of lemon, orange, clementine, pomello, kumquat, and limequat (a key-lime and kumquat hybrid) trees, lovely and heavy with fruit. Meanwhile, closer to the earth grow the brassicas, one of nature’s nutritional monarchs, packed full of fiber and anti-cancer compounds. Broccoli, turnips, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, and mustards all fit into this category and thrive during Israel’s colder, wetter months. Not to be forgotten, spinach, beets, carrots, and peas are also flourishing these days.
Many years ago, as I was just beginning to learn about eating locally, I took what felt like a big step: I promised myself I would only eat strawberries in the summer, when they were ripe in New York where I lived. I would celebrate summer with the sweet red juiciness of freshly-picked strawberries, and cast away their pallid, California-born cousins that would appear on fruit platters and dipped in chocolate at other times of the year. The switch hit home an important lesson: Eating with the seasons brought new treats with the passing of time. Waiting for those strawberries, I noticed the seasons change…and I enjoyed those strawberries ten times more than I had before, having waited so long to eat them once again.