Why Eat Carob on Tu B'Shevat?

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Jamie Geller
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Back in the day when I was a TV producer and pitching new show ideas to executives, common practice was to always provide comparisons for reference. It was understood that "there's nothing new under the sun" so everything was really a twist on a proven concept. So your show pitch would go something like: "It's a talk show, sci-fi hybrid.  Think Oprah meets Star Wars." Or "It's a 30 minute, episodic, family comedy like Full House except everyone is a vampire and they all live on a boat." You get the drift? 

So that's kind of how I feel about carob. While entirely unique, it's a hybrid of lots of familiar tastes and textures. Every year on Tu B'Shevat, my school would send us home with a token piece of carob. Apparently describing the taste was always a challenge as it was often explained to taste like... carob. Since that's awfully unhelpful I've tried to think about how I'd "pitch" it as an ingredient. I'm thinking something like this: "Hang onto your teeth 'cause to conquer the carob you'll have to fight with this crunchy, chewy, earthy, mildly sweet, 'tree bark'." What do you think? (Spot on?! Any other ideas?) Would you green-light its inclusion in your next recipe? How about for Tu B’Shevat?

tu B'shevat collage

MORE: My Favorite Tu B'Shevat Recipes

On Tu B'Shevat, The New Year of the Trees, we eat various fruits of the trees as well as the Shivat Haminim – the 7 foods for which the land of Israel is praised, or as we like to call them the Seven Super Foods of the Bible.

Here is a list of 12 recommended foods for your Tu B'Shevat Seder:

  • Wheat
  • Olives 
  • Dates 
  • Grapes 
  • Figs 
  • Pomegranates 
  • Etrogim 
  • Apples 
  • Walnuts 
  • Almonds 
  • Pears 
  • and... CAROB!   

Rabbi Baruch S. Davidson explains the significance of carob on Tu B'Shevat: "...the Talmud tells us that it takes [a carob tree] 70 years to mature and bear fruit. By eating carob on Tu B'Shevat, [we highlight] an important lesson to be learned from the carob tree: the importance of patiently investing in the future even when it is a long and arduous process with no immediate gains, for the fruits of our labors will be harvested by generations to come."

Do you hold a Tu B’Shevat Seder? What do you serve? (Do you like Carob?!) 

Here are a few carob recipes (that don't require you fight with your food) for your Tu B’Shevat feast. ..

MORE: JOY of KOSHER Tu B'Shevat Full Recipe Collection

RAISIN CAROB TRUFFLES

Raisin Carob truffles1

Better than the most luxurious chocolate, but using only carob and fruit to make these amazing truffles. Raw vegan and absolutely delicious!

MORE: Fun and Healthy Treats For Kids to Make

CAROB PUDDING FRUIT PARFAIT

Chocolate Pudding Fruit Parfait

A decidedly easier, more pleasant way to enJOY your carob. This silky, smooth, creamy, carob parfait is SO the way to go!

MORE: 3 Menus for Tu B'Shevat

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