Archive for the 'Honey' Category

A Honey of a New Year!

This Article is Cross-Posted on

As 5771 approaches, we look ahead with hope for a good and sweet year.  Honey has been part of tradition for thousands of years, as exemplified by the age-old custom of using a taste of honey to encourage and reward young children for learning.  What can be more delicious than dipping home-made breads, crackers or fruits into honey? And now honey has gotten even sweeter!

Delicious, Flavorful, Versatile Yogurt

This entry is cross-posted at

Some time ago I wrote a post about store-bought, flavored yogurt and the absurd amounts of sugar contained therein,  called Everything You Wanted to Know About Yogurt but Were Afraid To Ask.  But the truth is there’s a lot more to know about yogurt, and don’t worry — it’s all good.

The first step to restoring yogurt to its healthful place in smart eating is to buy it plain.  You can try your hand at making your own yogurt, but you’ll still need some plain yogurt to get started.  “Plain,” by the way, is what I would have called yogurt if I wanted consumers to be more interested in other, fancier options, especially if I could increase profits by doing so.  But that’s not what I want for you, so  I would call it “pure” yogurt.  So the first step is to buy plain, whole-milk yogurt.  Now, if you aren’t ready to switch from low-fat to whole fat, we can compromise for now.  Just please make sure it’s plain yogurt, with live, active cultures (check the label).

Postville, Procter & Gamble, And The Problem With Pareve Margarine

The raid on the kosher meat-processing plant in Postville, Iowa, threw us a bone in the shape of a vigorous new debateon whether it is fitting and proper to designate as “kosher” products made without regard for animal welfare, fair wages,and the environment. To these I would add human health. What does it mean to approve the manufacture and distribution of products that are known to compromise the health of those who consume them? Is there a distinction to be made between contaminantsthat do their work quickly, like salmonella, and those whose destructive effects are slow and cumulative, like trans fats?

The Buzz About Big City Beekeepers

Thanks so much to Sal Cardoni for his great cross-post.  Sal is a writer living in Los Angeles by way of Wilkes-Barre, PA, covering Environment Issues for


Photo courtesy of Kirk Anderson

It’s a resplendent Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, that rare smog-free day. You decide to charbroil some burgers for lunch. You creek open the lid of your backyard grill and…bzzZZZzzzz!  A bee-hive! In ten seconds flat, you’ve hightailed it back into the house, slammed the door, and Googled “exterminator.”

Best to kill those sons-a-beeswax before they swarm, right? Wrong!

Yes, Elisheba, There IS A Farmers’ Market (In Chicago)…

B'nai Abraham Zion of Oak Park Helping Market shoppers for Passover

…during the winter

…on a day other than Saturday

Those of us organic, sustainable foodies in Chicago are keenly aware of the famous Green City Market which stays open year-round by moving into the Nature Museum November-April.  But for us who observe Shabbat, the Saturday-only schedule they keep in the in winter months is sad news indeed.

So I finally kvetched – kvweeted? – to all the Chicago farmers market Tweeps I follow about how Jews are blocked from farmers market goodness in the winter.

Local Honey! New York City Makes Bee Keeping Legal

photo by CarbonNYC

Lovers of local honey and urban beekeepers rejoice!  This morning the New York City Board of Health lifted the ban on beekeeping in the City!  Lots of good folks like Just Food and the New York City Beekeepers Association have been putting a lot of great effort into making this happen!

Make Cheese Not War


Avi Rubel is the North American Director of Masa Israel Journey, the umbrella organization for immersion programs in Israel for young adults (18-30). When not sending people to Israel, Avi can be found making cheese, bread, kombucha or fermenting or pickling all kinds of goodies in his Brooklyn apartment and recording his adventures on his food blog, Make Cheese Not War. In the weeks after the Hazon Food Conference, he shared some of his thoughts about his experience with Hazon in California.

Click below to read his posts:

More Sustainable (Mediterranean) Goodness Coming to a CSA Near You!

kibbutz Neot Smadar

Do you love your CSA (or Tuv Ha’Haretz) but also want sustainable products that are not found locally where you live?  Things like olive oil and dates are local to the Mediterranean Sea – not New England.  But for folks in the greater New York area committed to sustainable agriculture, some of our CSAs have recently partnered with a new company that supports small-scale farming and economic development in the Negev Region of Israel.

Negev Nectars, a new business that launched last week, will be bringing gourmet, sustainably produced foods to CSAs (and Tuv Ha’Haretz) to the United States.  Negev Nectars members will be sent olive oil, jams, chutneys, honey, dried herbs and other unique products (check them out here) three times a year just before Hanukkah, Passover and Rosh Hashanah.  Negev Nectars can be shipped all over the U.S., although your share can be picked up at participating sites.  Currently Negev Nectars can be picked up at the Tuv Ha’Haretz in White Plains, NY and Forest Hills, NY with additional sites coming soon in New York and New Jersey.

Yid.Dish: Apple-Cheddar Pie, a Remedy For Post-Holiday Blues

The Delicious Pie, Sans First Slice

The Delicious Pie, Sans First Slice

On Sunday night as my mother and I stood outside and began the slow, sad process of dismantling our Sukkah, I started to think about autumn and more specifically, why it ranks as my favorite time of the year. The end of the fall holidays always hit me hard, perhaps even harder than the thought of returning to my daily routine. And yet there I was, shivering in my pajamas and thanking Hashem Almighty that it was fall in New York.

Considering my deep loathing of the snow and my firm belief that the winter should be spent hibernating (with only rare breaks for hot chocolate and cookies), I’m always surprised by my love of its seasonal predecessor. But then I remember that the fall is the start of a brand new year for us Jews. Everything is open before us, and we haven’t had much chance to mess up yet. My favorite flavors come into the Farmers’ Markets: apples, butternut squash, fresh figs, and best of all, pumpkins. And for me, the fall comes with a wonderful combination of those two notions.

Since the next day was Columbus Day (or as I like to call it, the most arbitrary day off of the year), my mother, two of my

Honey by Any Other Name…

Date Honey from the Galilee

Date Honey from the Galilee

Here in the Galilee, a modest but auspicious ease in the heat is rousing us out of our summer torpor.  That and the impending preparations for Rosh Hashana – with the questions that are on everyone’s lips: who is eating where and preparing what?

Our holiday table, like most, will be graced with a plate of sliced apples, and a bowl of honey to dip them in – to remind our tongues and the pleasure centers of our brains how sweet life can and hopefully will be in the coming year. This year, however, the honey we’ll be dipping into will have a darker hue and more complex flavor than usual.

The research I’ve been doing on the origins and history of the seven species of the Land of Israel (wheat, barley, vines, figs, pomegranates, olives and honey) has changed the way I understand this last and sweetest of the seven.

Nogah Reuveni, one of the pioneering scholars of Israel’s biblical agricultural landscape, astutely observed that, of all the seven species, there is only one which is not a plant or plant product (guess which).  While today, we think of honey as what comes out of a beehive, in ancient times, it referred to any sweet syrup made out of boiled-down fruit.

Waste Not, Want This: Leftover Challah



“Half a loaf,” they say, “is better than none.”  But it’s hard for me to cheer when I have half a challah left after Shabbat, doomed to sit on the counter, uneaten until it’s inedible, or tossed into the back of a freezer and forgotten until the pre-Passover clean up and then burned with the chametz.

We’ve been trying especially hard, recently, not to waste food – but when it comes to leftover challah, the challenge is twofold: For one thing, there are four people in my family and 15 slices in the average bakery loaf; you do the math. For another, halakha (Jewish law) requires that two full, un-sliced loaves appear at both the Friday night meal and again on Saturday as a reminder of the double portion of manna that fell from heaven before Shabbat when the Israelites were wandering in the desert. A lovely tradition – but it means the bread left over from supper can’t just be used up at the next day’s lunch.

That’s just one of the many reasons I bake my own challah: I can shape each loaf to the exact size I’ll actually need on a given Shabbat, depending on whether we’re expecting guests. And when I’m too tired/hot/lazy/cranky to bake, I now buy small challah rolls at the bakery, rather than full braids. Yeah, the little round breads look kind of lonely on the big challah board, but honestly, one slice of challah is really enough for each of us.

But even those anti-waste measures aren’t fail-safe – and there are many folks, I know, for whom it just isn’t Shabbos dinner without large, glossy loaves poking their noses out from under a silken challah cover. For all of us, then, I’ve been thinking about delicious ways to use up leftover challah.

You’ve Got To Fight For Your Right…To Pollenate?


Well it seems like the only bees making the news these days are the bees that go missing (apparently they were in Argentina and not hiking the Application Trail) or banned bees.  Unlike several other major cities around the United States such as Chicago and San Francisco, beekeeping is legal.  But, in New York City beekeeping is illegal.  This isn’t really breaking news (we’ve written about this before) but earlier this week a “Beekeepers Ball” was held in order to bring attention to the issue that some people want to make NYC beekeeping a legit activity.   According to the New York Times,

In attendance [on Monday] were New York City beekeepers, aspiring New York City beekeepers, beekeepers not from New York City, friends of beekeepers, friends of bees, people who like to dress as bees, people who like to dress their children as bees, bee-dressed children, one cross-dressing beekeeper, a couple of guys who spend much of their time dressed in armor, fans of honey, fans of local food and a team of French videographers.

Underground Rooftop Honey


I just wrote a new post on beekeeping in New York and local honeys for The Vine. While it’s illegal to keep bees in New York, beekeeping persists and there’s plenty of delicious local honey to prove it.  At a local honey tasting in SOHO some of the local honeys stole the show, and reflected the tastes and intricacies of New York itself.

And for a great video on the topic, Wendy Cohen and the Meerkat Media Arts Collective made a wonderful film on Colony Collapse Disorder and rooftop beekeeping on the East Coast, including in New York City.

Also, Just Food has an online petition to legalize beekeeping in New York and I strongly encourage all to sign.
*photo credit: Sabrina Malach Ha + mohn + tashen (poppyseed filling)


Why Poppyseed Hamentaschen Are The Only True Hamentaschen – I share this short formula from my father:

Mohn (poppy seed) + Taschen (pockets) = Mohntaschen (poppy seed pocket pastries)

+ Ha (Hebrew definite article) = Hamohntaschen (Haman’s Pockets) or Purim poppy seed pocket pastries

Now, I LOVE poppyseed filling Hamantashen. And seeds are a traditional food for Purim because Esther is supposed to have eaten nuts and seeds during her fast. But I don’t love all of those ingredients you find when you use a can of poppyseed filing, nor do many of my friends. So, what’s a girl to do? Clearly the answer is, make my own! So I did.