Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Shesek

I've always said my Jerusalem neighborhood is colorful - full of rich mizrachi tradition and wonderful neighbors.  This afternoon as i came home, one of my neighbors called me over and presented me with a sakit (bag) of shesek (loquat) from his tree.  As i thanked him i realized the tree in my own yard was brimming with ripe and unpicked fruit. It got me thinking about the fruit of this Land.

Not long after my neighbor's gift i heard a great commotion on the street above me, with brachot and singing emanating from the loudspeakers, blanketing the neighborhood. A Torah scroll dedication was in progress. I ran up and took several pictures as the Torah was being escorted to it's home in some nearby beit knesset (synagogue). I will share about THAT and the pictures in another post.

..but first the shesek.

The Shesek tree bears it's fruit in late spring and the little oval orange shesekim are sweet and juicy and a favorite amongst Israelis. (both people and birds !! ).  Shesek trees are all over Israel, in yards and home gardens and have deep green large broad leaves that protect the clusters of fruit. When you pick the shesek you have to clip the stem above, otherwise the inner fruit is already exposed ready to peel the skin (if you wish) or eat !! Inside are 3 shiny large seeds..(which..of no importance - float ! when dropped in water)

Here are a few shesek recipes from Liz Steinberg from her Tel Aviv based food blog Cafe Liz . Note: Even though some shesek can be slightly tart (depending on the variety), they can usually be substituted for apricot or peach in recipes.

Liz's recipes include among others:
Loquat Peach Waffles
Creamy fruit dessert with loquat and strawberries
Savory roasted loquat and plum

These pictures here on the blog are mine, but because others must agree it is such a pretty fruit i have also included a rather fun Flicker Photo link celebrating the shesek !

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