What does succulence, innovation, history, and seeds have to do with one another? These are all features of local Israel fruits that have unique stories and characteristics.
Israel is a rich country from different perspectives. It’s rich historically, geologically, technologically as well as from a culinary angle. This is due to its location – East meets West, North meets South…
An aspect often overlooked is Israel’s agricultural output. Not only the obvious middle eastern product from a native land but the technology involved in creating such produce – both from the infrastructure provided and the biological research done to the produce such delicious fruits.
All this results in an amazing abundance and richness of fruit. Sweet, juicy, tart or sours the fruit coming out of Israel are well known around the globe.
Let’s explore these:
The Israeli orange, also known as the Jaffa orange, is a fruit with few seeds and a thick tough skin. It’s exported from Israel all over the world, developed in the 19th century, It flourishes in the Israeli climate and in the past was an icon of Israel’s worldwide success and growth. Bottom line, these are sweet, easy to peel and really yummy.
Israeli researchers were part of the team developing this miniature variety of the tomato. These small and sweeter versions of full-sized tomatoes are super common in Israel and are available almost all year-round. They are perfect for salads, sauces, or a healthy snack on the go. One of our personal favorites is to add a few leaves of Basil and you have a refreshing snack.
Dates have been grown by man for more than 5’000 years. They are delicious with unique nutritional properties. Bedouins, Israel’s nomad tribes, used dates as the basis of their diet for long marches in the desert and high endurance. At the beginning of the last century, when Israel went through a wave of modernization and settlement, a reviving of the cultivation of dates occurred. Scientists discovered ancient date seeds and are growing these today.
Today there is a handful of Kibbutzs with groves of palm trees grown for agriculture – both for domestic use and international export. This is not only for the actual date but also for its products such as date honey, called Silan. Dates are served fresh, dried, frozen or cooked.
Israeli strawberries are definitely something to write home about. They are not available all year so when they do finally show up late November or December everyone is eagerly waiting for them. They are bursting with flavor, juicy, and are so so sweet. Their seasonal arrival is not only to eat and enjoy there is a whole pass time activity around it of picking and picnicking straight from the fields. Strawberry fields are easily accessible in the central part of Israel, very close to its main cities.
Israel has an almost endless summer. Almost. There are those occasional days of a light jacket and maybe even a few sprinkles, but overall summer can start anytime from April and end as late as November. But the actual start of summer is marked by the first watermelon of the season. It slowly creeps up from the first few bland watermelons and then quickly invades every meal, beach gathering, and even drinks. Its sweet, refreshing, and cool taste and texture are perfect for those hot and humid days and nights. Today the most popular one is the seedless version that you could buy whole or in halves. It’s a summer staple.
Eating suggestions – add some chopped nana (mint) leaves or Bulgarian cheese and your experience will be completely different.
When in Israel, discover and try these fruits and vegetables at the local market. Eat them out of the bag, at home on the balcony or with friends at a picnic.
An Indian proverb says that “All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today.” as a MITF teaching fellow with Israel Experience, you will be able to plant the seeds of success in the next generation of Israeli children.