Almost any Jewish tradition expert would tell you that the custom of eating dried fruit on Tu B’Shvat originated in the Diaspora; the idea was to honor fruits of the Promised Land. Those of us lucky enough to reside in this promised land, however, have unlimited access to locally grown fresh fruit year round - so why continue munching on the dried stuff, especially since most of it’s not even locally produced, but imported, usually from Turkey? The answer is obvious – dried fruit is delicious! The selection of dried fruits in local stores is staggering, with new varieties added every year. I can't seem to resist these little jewel-like calorie-laden tidbits, and every now and then I discover a new favorite. I’m currently hooked on dried strawberries and pineapple slices.
Dried fruit is also a very handy pantry ingredient. I love adding dried fruits to salads and stews, and they do wonders to various grain preparations, especially bulgur wheat, couscous and quinoa. Here are 3 recipes by Orly Pely Bronshtein, "Al Hashulchan"’s wonderful food editor and co-author of "The Book of New Israeli Food".