Today was another exceptionally beautiful day in Vancouver, blessed with sunshine just like a proper Tu Bishvat day. The only thing that was missing was the fruit salad I've never made.
Fruit in the wintertime, even in Israel is not at its prime. Most of it, except for citrus fruit is refrigerated from the summer or fall. And if you live in the Northern hemisphere it is mostly imported and not at its freshest. So there is really no better way to enjoy fruit this season than in a fruit salad. Even if all you have is apples, oranges and bananas there are ways to make this simple combination incredibly delicious and festive.
What makes a Tu Bishvat fruit salad different from run-of-the-mill fruit salad is the presence of dried fruit and nuts. These add interesting texture as well as sweetness and variety of flavours.
In particular - chopped dried figs and dates and pecan nuts. If you have either of those you've got a fruit salad, no matter how plain the fruit is.
And if you want to dress up your salad even more, a few drops of orange flower water or rosewater will add grace and an enigmatic touch to any fruit salad.
Tu Bishvat Fruit Salad
(serves 2 fruit lovers or 4 not-so nuts about fruit guests)
1 Banana, peeled
2 Apples, cored
2 Oranges, with the outer skin peeled off (keep the white skin on)
10 almonds, chopped thinly
10 pecan halves, coarsely chopped
3 dried dates, sliced
4 dried figs, chopped into small cubes
1/2 tsp. Orange flower water
Lemon juice (just a few drops)
Cut the apples and bananas into small cubes and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice to avoid browning. Add chopped orange fruit and place in a bowl.
Add the dried fruit and nuts and mix well.
Add orange flower water (if desired) and toss together.
Refrigerate until serving, up to 5 hours.
Fruit salad such as this is so delicious and filling it can be a meal on its own, especially with the extra nutrients from the nuts and dried fruit. Of course, the exact amount of fruit can be adjusted to taste. And fruit can be added or omitted as desired. Fruit such as strawberry, pineapple, mango, pear or kiwi lends itself very well to this context as well as any dry fruit you like - raisins, craisins, dried apricots or peaches, prunes, etc. A sprinkle of shredded coconut can be a nice addition as well as sesame seeds or oatmeal flakes (which will turn it into a musli).