Tu Beshevat game: Name that fruit

On Monday night and Tuesday we will celebrate Tu Bishvat, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. Tu Bishvat is also known as the new year of the trees; the Mishnah mentions this date as the cutoff point when counting the age of a tree. This is important for the laws of terumot and maaserot (tithing) and shmittah (the sabbatical year), as well as orlah (fruit from a tree is prohibited until the tree is in its fourth or fifth year). It has become traditional in modern Israel to plant trees in honor of the holiday, even though the rabbis probably picked this mid-winter date because it’s the least likely time to plant trees and would cause the least confusion about which year is involved.

Because this year is a shmittah year, we will not plant any trees. Any fruit produced from blossoms that bloomed after this Tu Bishvat will be considered fruit of the current sabbatical year (meaning it will begin to be a concern around Passover through Passover next year), and have a special status known as “kedushat sheviit.” Vegetables go according to the year that they are picked (you can read more about shmittah here.)

In honor of Tu Bishvat, my daughter lovingly collected, arranged, and photographed the fifteen fruits in the pictures. She refused to include any dried fruits, because even though they are considered “Tu Bishvat” fruit, they were a compromise for Jews who celebrated the holiday in the Diaspora. In many places fresh fruit wasn’t available, but all of the fruits pictured above grew in Israel. Can you name each one? (Thanks also to commenter Tamiri; one of the fruits grew in her garden.)

Bonus: Two of the fruits are technically vegetables, have kedushat sheviit, and require the blessing of “borei pri ha’adamah” (“the Creator of the fruits of the ground”).

Happy Tu Bishvat!


  1. I’ll give it a whirl, although I’m not sure about some of them.
    Picture 1: Rimon, orange, peach (?), clementine/tangerine and a pear.
    Picture 2: banana, avocado, grapefruit, fig (?), persimmon (afarsimon).
    Picture3: lemon, apple,olive, almond, kiwi (?).
    Shavua tov, and Happy Tu B’shvat!

  2. Pomogranate, orange, tangerine, pear, apricot??, banana, avocado, persimmon, grapefruit, olive, lemon, apple, pecan, almond, date

  3. ooops, I forgot the fig!

  4. mominisrael says

    No peaches or apricots in Israel this time of year. Who would have a fresh olive? Clementine, not tangerine. The pecan, almond and date are correct.
    So there are two that neither of you have guessed correctly.
    Not to mention the vegetables.

  5. mominisrael says

    Sorry, forgot that there is also no fig.

  6. mominisrael says

    Not a guava.

  7. There are fresh olives on the trees here, albeit in the fall….
    Rimon, Orange, Guava, Clementina, Pear
    Banana, Avocado, Grapefruit, Persimmon and my secret garden fruit
    (makes good juice too, just strain a bunch of them, add water and some sweetener and you have juice!)
    Lemon, Apple, Almond, Pecan, Date

  8. mominisrael says

    It’s a quince, which is similar to an apple or pear but inedible raw.

  9. Uch, I meant to write Quince, the chaboosh. I get mixed up between the two. If it’s a chaboosh, tell me: that thing with pinkish meat inside when cooked, that smells to high-heaven and some people adore???

  10. I got the apple!

  11. I have a bag of the mystery fruit for you, bli neder, if I remember to bring it tomorrow.
    Do you REALLY eat that quince? I so dislike the smell but I know that it’s a delicacy for North Africans, if I am not mistaken. I think they make stews with it as well…

  12. we always get quince for rosh hashana, for the shehechyanu for the second day. nobody eats it. Sometimes I will take a taste of a tiny morsel, but no more. Needless to say, I make the shehechyanu on a different fruit. i do not know why we continue to buy the quince, but we do.

  13. We used quinces in the sukka as decorations, stuffed full of cloves. Also in jelly. I do not remember them ever smelling bad.
    Guava stinks.

  14. mominisrael says

    Rafi, you do cook them first, right? They have a mild taste and smell. I have a cousin who is so allergic to guava that if the fruitseller on the ground floor of her 4th story apt. gets one, she throws up.

  15. mominisrael says

    Tamiri, right. No one guessed your garden fruit yet. I wouldn’t have either until a few days ago.

  16. As I wrote, I get mixed up with guava and quince. So it’s the guava that smells, and quince doesn’t????

  17. Lion of Zion says

    i’m not even going to try and play this game.
    my wife once sent me to the store for pears and i came home with peaches.

  18. Ok, I’ll give it a try:
    rimon orange, quince, clementine pear
    banana, avocado grapefruit persimmon passion fruit
    lemon apple date almond pecan
    I LOVE quinces, as i’ve already expressed to MII.
    I also have a great recipe for Bucharin chicken pilaf that calls for quince.

  19. yeah we cook em. I think they boil for like a dozen or so hours with a pail of sugar. The thought of eating ti is repulsive. Kind of like a cooked apple.

  20. mominisrael says

    Congrats to Abbi for recognizing the passionfruit. A dozen hours, Rafi, is way too long. Ten or so minutes in the microwave is enough, maybe half an hour on the stove? The taste is similar to cooked apples, so if you don’t like those I can understand about the quinces. Most people love cooked apples, though. Not that there is anything wrong with you if you don’t!
    Anyone willing to take a stab at the vegetable question?

  21. mominisrael says

    Banana–correct. Rimon is ha-etz.

  22. Rimon, banana= ha’adama

  23. Damn- i thought so, but most rimon trees look a lot like bushes, so i took a guess.
    I looked up all the others and they’re all ha’etz.
    I give up…

  24. i believe the passionfruit is adama according to some opinions. i also seem to remember that if you think of it as a tree you have problems with orla since it doesnt last more than 3 yrs or somthing? happy tu bshvat – for all of you out of the country it is not a warm day here in israel this tu bshvat (being a leap yr did not help the situation)

  25. mominisrael says

    Whoo! I’m glad somebody finally got it. I was getting ready to post hints. Yes, passiflora/passionfruit grows on a bush and one says ha-adama, like on a berry.
    I don’t think I’ve ever had guava.

  26. yeah, the passiflora is a bush, adama, not etz.
    And I actually guessed them all correctly, even the quince. I like quince raw, personally, in small amounts.
    the stinky fruit is guava. I think I’ve never actually eaten it b/c I couldn’t get past the stench.

  27. Happy Tu Vishvat to you, too, MIL, though I realize the day is over for you by now. I’ve never eaten a guava either. I also don’t think I’ve had quinces unless they were in something prepared by someone else.

  28. btw i asked my rav last nt and it is not clear if passionfruit is adama or etz, if i understand correctly it keeps its roots and is alive for like 7 yrs so some think of it as a tree, but it gives fruit almost immediately and lasts for a limited time so some think of it as a bush. for those of you not familiar with the plant, it is looks like a vine, grows quickly and beautifully and gives fruit very quickly. it can be seen all over my yishuv, people plant it over fences.

  29. mominisrael says

    Emuna, thanks for sharing that.

  30. Yes, when i looked up passiflora on one of those online bracha lists, it was listed as ha’etz.
    Guess those rabbanim weren’t so familiar with this debate.


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