Happy birthday trees!
This week we celebrate Tu b'Shvat, commonly known as 'the birthday of the trees'. To read more about Tu b'Shvat, read my husband, Rabbi Ben Hassan's blog, here.
This year, this holiday means even more to me because of my new and improved appreciation of the bounty from trees.
For most of my life, if you asked me to name fruits off the top of my head, the list would be something like, 'apples, oranges, pears, and bananas'. If I thought about it some more, 'berries, melons, pineapples, and pomegranates' would be added to the list. And how many types of apples are there? I would have said something like, "Red, green, and yellow." It wasn't until very recently I discovered the incredible diversity of apples.
There are over 7,500 types of apples! 7,500!!! They are each different, with their own tastes, purposes, and strengths. Wow! One type of apple would be enough. The enormous multitude of apples are there for us to enjoy. Each apple is a gift from Hashem. One apple is delicious- the variety of deliciousness is mind-blowing!
Biting into a fresh apple is one wonderful way to enjoy an apple, crisp- wet and delicious, but not the only way. I am an avid food dehydrator. Dehydrated apples are crunchy and taste complete different to fresh one. Of course there is also, baked, juiced, frozen or stewed apples.
As a lead-in to Tub'Shvat, the family will sample 6 different ways to enjoy one apple. 7500 X 6 = 45,000 ways to enjoy an apple without adding any ingredients! One type of fruit and 45,000 different ways to enjoy it! And apples are one of thousands of different types of fruit. The incredible diversity of food from trees exists for your palate to savor! It might be the tree's birthday, but the gifts are for you!
In addition to our apple party, during my weekly preschool program, we will also have a different type of Tu B'shvat celebration.
The children will be decorating these templates and folding them into party hats.
Additionally, I was thrilled to discover that mid-January in Seattle is the ideal time to plant pomegranate seeds. We will be trying that as well.