Tu B'Shevat, the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar, is the day that marks the beginning of a "New Year for Trees." This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle.

Legally, the "New Year for Trees" relates to the various tithes that must be separated from produce grown in the Holy Land. These tithes differ from year to year in the seven-year Shemittah cycle; the point at which a budding fruit is considered to belong to the next year of the cycle is the 15th of Shevat.

We mark the day of Tu B'Shevat by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. On this day we remember that "Man is a tree of the field" (Deuteronomy 20:19) and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue.

Fruit Centerpiece

Design your centerpiece with a large array of flowers along with fresh fruits and vegetables.


  • Container
  • One or many types of very fresh fruit
  • Leaves
  • A small towel or foam pad
  • Scissors or clippers
  1. Select a container that will allow the fruits to show and make sure buy enough fruit to fill it generously. For a cheaper alternative, you can stick to inexpensive basics for filling the container. You might see some unusual fruits that you had not thought of, like star fruit, kiwi, or mangoes. If there is something interesting that will enhance your color scheme, buy one or two for accents.
  2. Find fruit with leaves or cut some greenery from bushes around your home. You'll use these to fill in the gaps between the fruit. Be sure to rinse and dry the leaves before placing them in the arrangement.
  3. Place a small pad or small folded towel in the bottom of your container to protect delicate fruit.
  4. Carefully arrange the fruits in the container. Save the best looking pieces for the top where they'll show the most. If the pieces do not stay in place, secure them to each other with a few toothpicks.
  5. Arrange sprigs of leaves between the fruits at all layers and insert some nice sprigs between the fruits on the top.

Drying Fruits

Apples: Select firm textured apples. Wash and slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Pre-treat with a lemon juice/water solution (1 cup of lemon juice to 1 quart of water) or an Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) solution to prevent browning. Place slices onto drying rack. Dry fruit in the oven at 135° F. When fruit is pliable and there is no sign of moisture it can be stored in air tight bags or jars. After proper drying, apples and pears will keep in a cool, dry place from six months to a year.

Pears: Any variety of pear is suitable for drying. Pears should be ripe. Wash and slice. Pre-treat with lemon/water or ascorbic acid solution if you like. Dry at 135° F until leathery and there is no moisture present. Makes a great, sweet snack. Store carefully in air tight bags or jars. Keep in a cool, dry place.

Basic Fruit Leather

Pureed fruit can be dried on special, heavy plastic sheets in your electric dehydrator. To prepare apples or fruit for leather making, wash fruit thoroughly, remove seeds, puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Mixture should be of pouring consistency. It is important to add honey to help keep the leather pliable when dried. If the puree is too thick, add liquid to thin. If too tart, add more honey or sugar. Heat apple or pear mixture to 190° F to prevent oxidization, and cool before pouring onto dehydrator trays. Coat trays with a layer of fruit puree about 1/8 inch thick. Dry at 135° F until leathery. Be careful there are no moisture pockets. Roll up fruit leather while warm, wrap in plastic and store.