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Rosh Hashanah and Pomegranates

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posted by alias Chic Bee on Tuesday 5th of September 2017 12:47:16 AM

Rosh HaShanah (ראש השנה) is the Jewish New Year. Over the centuries it has become associated with many food customs, for instance, eating sweet food to symbolize our hopes for a "Sweet New Year." שנה טובה ומתוקה - Have A Sweet And Good Year! Happy Rosh HaShanah! On Rosh Hashanah we wish each other "L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu" may you be written (in The Book Of Life) for a good year. But Rosh HaShanah is not the end of the judgment, it is only on Yom Kippur that our judgment is made final - Written And Sealed. Honey (Apples and Honey) Biblical texts often mention "honey" as the sweetener of choice though some historians believe that the honey referenced in the Bible was actually a sort of fruit paste. Real honey was, of course, available but much more difficult to acquire! Honey represented good living and wealth. The Land of Israel is often called the land of "milk and honey" in the Bible. On the first night of Rosh Hashanah, we dip challah into honey and say the blessing over the challah. Then we dip apple slices into honey and say a prayer asking God for a sweet year. Slices of apple dipped in honey are often served to Jewish children – either at home or in religious school - as a special Rosh HaShanah snack. Round Challah After apples and honey, round loaves of challah are the most recognizable food symbol of Rosh HaShanah. Challah is a kind of braided egg bread that is traditionally served by Jews on Shabbat. During Rosh HaShanah, however, the loaves are shaped into spirals or rounds symbolizing the continuity of Creation. Sometimes raisins or honey are added to the recipe in order to make the resulting loaves extra sweet. (Click here to learn more about challah shapes and meanings.) Honey Cake Many Jewish households make honey cakes on Rosh HaShanah as another way to symbolically express their wishes for a Sweet New Year. Often people will use a recipe that has been passed down through the generations. Honey cake can be made with a variety of spices, though autumnal spices (cloves, cinnamon, allspice) are especially popular. Different recipes call for the use of coffee, tea, orange juice or even rum to add an additional dimension of flavor. New Fruit On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, we eat a "new fruit" – meaning, a fruit that has recently come into season but that we have not yet had the opportunity to eat. When we eat this new fruit, we say the shehechiyanu blessing thanking God for keeping us alive and bringing us to this season. This ritual reminds us to appreciate the fruits of the earth and being alive to enjoy them. A pomegranate is often used as this new fruit. In the Bible, the Land of Israel is praised for its pomegranates. It is also said that this fruit contains 613 seeds just as there are 613 mitzvot. Another reason given for blessing and eating pomegranate on Rosh HaShanah is that we wish that our good deeds in the ensuing year will be as plentiful as the seeds of the pomegranate. Fish Rosh HaShanah literally means "head of the year" in Hebrew. For this reason in some Jewish communities it is traditional to eat the head of a fish during the Rosh HaShanah holiday meal. Fish is also eaten because it is an ancient symbol of fertility and abundance. Sources: Faye Levy's International Jewish Cookbook, A Time Warner Company, 1991. The Spice and Spirit of Kosher-Jewish Cooking, Lubavitch Women’s Organization, 1977. Alphabet Soup: Jewish Family Cooking from A to Z, Schechter Day Schools, 1990. A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking. Goldman, Marcy. 1996. judaism.about.com/od/holidays/a/Rosh-Hashanah-Food-Custom... I have one Pomegranate tree or bush that I planted, and a number that the birds started... The trees in our gardens do make beautiful and delicious fruit... They are hardy here in Tucson, even though the top branches of the more exposed trees are killed back each year by frost. The flowers are gorgeous! The focus is on the strong branches within... How does the camera do that? It probably detects edges as indicated by sudden light to dark changes over a number of contiguous pixels in a line in any of a number of directions... I suspect the depth of field and the distance from the subject affects that. I am beginning to experiment to gain some degree of control over that focusing by taking half steps backwards in a series of shots... Here are excerpts from an article by the California Rare Fruit Growers that can help a gardener like me: www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/pomegranate.html POMEGRANATE Punica granatum L. Punicaceae Common Names: Pomegranate, Granada (Spanish), Grenade (French). Related Species: Punica proto-punica. Origin: The pomegranate is native from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and was cultivated and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region since ancient times. It is widely cultivated throughout India and the drier parts of southeast Asia, Malaya, the East Indies and tropical Africa. The tree was introduced into California by Spanish settlers in 1769. In this country it is grown for its fruits mainly in the drier parts of California and Arizona. Adaptation: Pomegranates prefer a semi-arid mild-temperate to subtropical climate and are naturally adapted to regions with cool winters and hot summers. A humid climate adversely affects the formation of fruit. The tree can be severely injured by temperatures below 12° F. In the U. S. pomegranates can be grown outside as far north as southern Utah and Washington, D.C. but seldom set fruit in these areas. The tree adapts well to container culture and will sometimes fruit in a greenhouse. DESCRIPTION Growth Habits: The pomegranate is a neat, rounded shrub or small tree that can grow to 20 or 30 ft., but more typically to 12 to 16 ft. in height. Dwarf varieties are also known. It is usually deciduous, but in certain areas the leaves will persist on the tree. The trunk is covered by a red-brown bark which later becomes gray. The branches are stiff, angular and often spiny. There is a strong tendency to sucker from the base. Pomegranates are also long-lived. There are specimens in Europe that are known to be over 200 years of age. The vigor of a pomegranate declines after about 15 years, however. Foliage: The pomegranate has glossy, leathery leaves that are narrow and lance-shaped. Flowers: The attractive scarlet, white or variegated flowers are over an inch across and have 5 to 8 crumpled petals and a red, fleshy, tubular calyx which persists on the fruit. The flowers may be solitary or grouped in twos and threes at the ends of the branches. The pomegranate is self-pollinated as well as cross-pollinated by insects. Cross-pollination increases the fruit set. Wind pollination is insignificant. Fruit: The nearly round, 2-1/2 to 5 in. wide fruit is crowned at the base by the prominent calyx. The tough, leathery skin or rind is typically yellow overlaid with light or deep pink or rich red. The interior is separated by membranous walls and white, spongy, bitter tissue into compartments packed with sacs filled with sweetly acid, juicy, red, pink or whitish pulp or aril. In each sac there is one angular, soft or hard seed. High temperatures are essential during the fruiting period to get the best flavor. The pomegranate may begin to bear in 1 year after planting out, but 2-1/2 to 3 years is more common. Under suitable conditions the fruit should mature some 5 to 7 months after bloom. CULTIVARS Balegal Originated in San Diego, Calif. Selected by Paul H. Thomson. Large, roundish fruit, 3 inches in diameter. Somewhat larger than Fleshman. Skin pale pink, lighter then Fleshman. Flesh slightly darker than Fleshman, very sweet. Cloud From the Univ. of Calif., Davis pomegranate collection. Medium-sized fruit with a green-red color. Juice sweet and white. Crab From the Univ. of Calif., Davis pomegranate collection. Large fruit have red juice that is tart but with a rich flavor. A heavy bearing tree. Early Wonderful Large, deep-red, thin-skinned, delicious fruit. Ripens about 2 weeks ahead of Wonderful. Medium-sized bush with large, orange-red fertile flowers. Blooms late, very productive. Fleshman Originated in Fallbrook, Calif. Selected by Paul H. Thomson. Large, roundish fruit, about 3 inches in diameter, pink outside and in. Very sweet flavor, seeds relatively soft, quality very good. Francis Originated in Jamaica via Florida. Large, sweet, split-resistant fruit. Prolific producer. Granada Originated in Lindsay, Calif. Introduced in 1966. Bud mutation of Wonderful. Fruit resembles Wonderful, but displays a red crown while in the green state, darker red in color and less tart. Ripens one month earlier than Wonderful. Flowers also deeper red. Tree identical to Wonderful. Green Globe Originated in Camarillo, Calif. Selected by John Chater. Large, sweet, aromatic, green-skinned fruit. Excellent quality. Home From the Univ. of Calif., Davis pomegranate collection. The fruit is variable yellow-red in color, with light pink juice that is sweet and of rich flavor. Some bitterness. King From the Univ. of Calif., Davis pomegranate collection. Medium to large fruit, somewhat smaller than Balegal and Fleshman. Skin darker pink to red. Flavor very sweet. Has a tendency to split. Bush somewhat of a shy bearer. Phoenicia (Fenecia) Originated in Camarillo, Calif. Selected by John Chater. Large fruit, 4-5 inches in diameter, mottled red-green skin. Flavor sweet, seeds relatively hard. Sweet Fruit is lighter in color than Wonderful, remains slightly greenish with a red blush when ripe. Pink juice, flavor much sweeter than other cultivars. Excellent in fruit punch. Trees highly ornamental, bears at an early age, productive. Utah Sweet Very sweet, good quality fruit. Pink skin and pulp. Seeds notably softer than those of Wonderful and other standard cultivars. Attractive pinkish-orange flowers. Wonderful Originated in Florida. First propagated in California in 1896. Large, deep purple-red fruit. Rind medium thick, tough. Flesh deep crimson in color, juicy and of a delicious vinous flavor. Seeds not very hard. Better for juicing than for eating out of hand. Plant is vigorous and productive. Leading commercial variety in California. CULTURE Location: Pomegranates should be placed in the sunniest, warmest part of the yard or orchard for the best fruit, although they will grow and flower in part shade. The attractive foliage, flowers and fruits of the pomegranate, as well as its smallish size make it a excellent landscaping plant. Soil: The pomegranate does best in well-drained ordinary soil, but also thrives on calcareous or acidic loam as well as rock strewn gravel. Irrigation: Once established, pomegranates can take considerable drought, but for good fruit production they must be irrigated. To establish new plants they should be watered every 2 to 4 weeks during the dry season. The plants are tolerant of moderately saline water and soil conditions. Fertilizing: In the West, the trees are given 2 to 4-ounce applications of ammonium sulfate or other nitrogen fertilizer the first two springs. After that very little fertilizer is needed, although the plants respond to an annual mulch of rotted manure or other compost. Pruning: Plants should be cut back when they are about 2 ft. high. From this point allow 4 or 5 shoots to develop, which should be evenly distributed around the stem to keep the plant well balanced. These should start about 1 ft. from the ground, giving a short but well-defined trunk. Any shoots which appear above or below should be removed as should any suckers. Since the fruits are borne only at the tips of new growth, it is recommended that for the first 3 years the branches be judiciously shortened annually to encourage the maximum number of new shoots on all sides, prevent straggly development and achieve a strong well framed plant. After the 3rd year, only suckers and dead branches are removed. Propagation: The pomegranate can be raised from seed but may not come true. Cuttings root easily and plants from them bear fruit after about 3 years. Twelve to 20 inches long cuttings should be taken in winter from mature, one-year old wood. The leaves should be removed and the cuttings treated with rooting hormone and inserted about two-thirds their length into the soil or into some other warm rooting medium. Plants can also be air-layered but grafting is seldom successful. Pests and Diseases: Pomegranates are relatively free of most pests and diseases. Minor problems are leaf and fruit spot and foliar damage by white flies, thrips, mealybugs and scale insects. The roots are seldom bothered by gophers but deer will browse on the foliage. Harvest: The fruits are ripe when they have developed a distinctive color and make a metallic sound when tapped. The fruits must be picked before over maturity when they tend to crack open, particularly when rained on. The pomegranate is equal to the apple in having a long storage life. It is best maintained at a temperature of 32° to 41° F. and can be kept for a period of 7 months within this temperature range and at 80 to 85% relative humidity without shrinking or spoiling. The fruits improve in storage, becoming juicier and more flavorful. The fruit can be eaten out of hand by deeply scoring several times vertically and then breaking it apart. The clusters of juice sacs are then lifted out and eaten. The sacs also make an attractive garnish when sprinkled on various dishes. Pomegranate fruits are most often consumed as juice and can be juiced is several ways. The sacs can be removed and put through a basket press or the juice can be extracted by reaming the halved fruits on an ordinary orange juice squeezer. Another approach starts with warming the fruit slightly and rolling it between the hands to soften the interior. A hole is then cut in the stem end which is placed on a glass to let the juice run out, squeezing the fruit from time to time to get all the juice. The juice can be used in a variety of of ways: as a fresh juice, to make jellies, sorbets or cold or hot sauces as well as to flavor cakes, baked apples, etc. Pomegranate syrup is sold commercially as grenadine. The juice can also be made into a wine. Commercial Potential: The primary commercial growing regions of the world are the Near East, India and surrounding countries and southern Europe. In California commercial cultivation is centered in the southern San Joaquin Valley. Consumer demand in this country is not great. More pomegranate fruits probably wind up as decorations in fruit bowls than are consumed. _____________________________________________ Also see the more general Wikipedia article. It has a section on use in cooking by regions of the world: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomegranate Here are a few highlights that struck my fancy: A pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing to between five and eight meters tall. Native to the drier regions of the Mediterranean Basin, pomegranate is widely cultivated throughout India and parts of southeast Asia, Malaya, the East Indies and tropical Africa.[1] Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is now cultivated in parts of California and Arizona for juice production. [2] Scientific Classification Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Subclass: Rosidae Order: Myrtales Family: Lythraceae Genus: Punica Species: P. granatum Binomial Name Punica granatum - Linnaeus (Carl von Linné) Synonyms Punica malus - Linnaeus, 1758 Cultivars More than 500 cultivars of pomegranate have been named, but such fruits evidently have considerable synonymy in which the same genotype is named differently across regions of the world.[4] Iran hosts a great genetic diversity of pomegranate and more than 760 Iranian genotypes are collected at Iranian national pomegranate collection in Yazd, Iran. Several characteristics between pomegranate genotypes vary for identification, consumer preference, preferred use, and marketing, the most important of which are fruit size, exocarp color (ranging from yellow to purple, with pink and red most common), aril color (ranging from white to red), hardness of seed, maturity, juice content and its acidity, sweetness, and astringency.[4] Etymology The name "pomegranate" derives from Latin pomum ("apple") and granatus ("seeded"). This has influenced the common name for pomegranate in many languages (e.g., German Granatapfel, "Granat" meaning "garnet" and "Apfel" meaning "apple", thus "garnet apple"). Perhaps stemming from the French word for the fruit, "pomme-grenade", the pomegranate was known in early English as "apple of Grenada" -- a term which today survives only in heraldic blazons. This was probably a folk etymology, confusing Latin granatus with the Spanish city of Granada. The genus name Punica is named for the Phoenicians, who were active in broadening its cultivation, partly for religious reasons. In classical Latin, where "malum" was broadly applied to many apple-like fruits, the pomegranate's name was malum punicum or malum granatum, the latter giving rise to the Italian name melograno, or less commonly melagrana. Potential health benefits In preliminary laboratory research and human pilot studies, juice of the pomegranate was effective in reducing heart disease risk factors, including LDL oxidation, macrophage oxidative status, and foam cell formation,[35][36][37] all of which are steps in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. In a limited study of hypertensive patients, consumption of pomegranate juice for two weeks was shown to reduce systolic blood pressure by inhibiting serum angiotensin-converting enzyme.[38] Juice consumption may also inhibit viral infections[39] while pomegranate extracts have antibacterial effects against dental plaque.[40][41] Culinary use After opening the pomegranate by scoring it with a knife and breaking it open, the arils (seed casings) are separated from the peel and internal white pulp membranes. Separating the red arils is easier in a bowl of water, because the arils sink and the inedible pulp floats. Freezing the entire fruit also makes it easier to separate. Another very effective way of quickly harvesting the arils is to cut the pomegranate in half, score each half of the exterior rind four to six times, hold the pomegranate half over a bowl and smack the rind with a large spoon. The arils should eject from the pomegranate directly into the bowl, leaving only a dozen or more deeply embedded arils to remove. The entire seed is consumed raw, though the watery, tasty aril is the desired part. The taste differs depending on the subspecies of pomegranate and its ripeness. The pomegranate juice can be very sweet or sour, but most fruits are moderate in taste, with sour notes from the acidic tannins contained in the aril juice. Pomegranate juice has long been a popular drink in Persian and Indian cuisine, and began to be widely distributed in the United States and Canada in 2002.[12] Grenadine syrup is thickened and sweetened pomegranate juice used in cocktail mixing. Before tomatoes (a new-world fruit) arrived in the Middle East, grenadine was widely used in many Iranian foods, and is still found in traditional recipes such as fesenjan, a thick sauce made from pomegranate juice and ground walnuts, usually spooned over duck or other poultry and rice, and in ash-e anar (pomegranate soup).[13] Wild pomegranate seeds are used as a spice known as anardana (from Persian: anar+dana, pomegranate+seed), most notably in Indian and Pakistani cuisine, but also as a substitute for pomegranate syrup in Persian cuisine. Dried whole arils can often be obtained in ethnic Indian subcontinent markets. These seeds are separated from the flesh, dried for 10–15 days and used as an acidic agent for chutney and curry preparation. Ground anardana is also used, which results in a deeper flavoring in dishes and prevents the seeds from getting stuck in teeth. Seeds of the wild pomegranate variety known as daru from the Himalayas are regarded as quality sources for this spice. Dried pomegranate arils, found in some natural specialty food markets, still contain the seed and residual aril water, maintaining a natural sweet and tart flavor. Dried arils can be used in several culinary applications, such as trail mix, granola bars, or as a topping for salad, yogurt, or ice cream. Chocolate covered arils, also available in gourmet food stores, may be added to desserts and baked items. In the Caucasus, pomegranate is used mainly as juice.[14] In Azerbaijan a sauce from pomegranate juice (narsharab) is usually served with fish[15] or tika kabab. In Turkey, pomegranate sauce, (Turkish: nar ekşisi) is used as a salad dressing, to marinate meat, or simply to drink straight. Pomegranate seeds are also used in salads and sometimes as garnish for desserts such as güllaç.[16] Pomegranate syrup or molasses is used in muhammara, a roasted red pepper, walnut, and garlic spread popular in Syria and Turkey.[17] In Greece, pomegranate (Greek: ρόδι, rodi) is used in many recipes, including kollivozoumi, a creamy broth made from boiled wheat, pomegranates and raisins, legume salad with wheat and pomegranate, traditional Middle Eastern lamb kebabs with pomegranate glaze, pomegranate eggplant relish, and avocado-pomegranate dip. Pomegranate is also made into a liqueur and popular fruit confectionery used as ice cream topping or mixed with yogurt or spread as jam on toast. In Cyprus as well as in Greece and among the Greek Orthodox Diaspora , ρόδι is used to make kolliva, a mixture of wheat, pomegranate seeds, sugar, almonds and other seeds served at memorial services. In present-day cuisine, pomegranate can be used to add a creative touch to green salads or potato or chickpea-based salads.[18] IMG_4305_2



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