For Rosh Hashana, Israelis crave apples, honey, pomegranates and fish

While the average Israeli consumes only about 11 kilos of fish per year, during the month of Tishrei Israelis will each consume about 1.8 kg. – twice the monthly average during the rest of the year.

September 4, 2013 00:49
3 minute read.
ISRAELI APPLES. Due to excellent growing conditions, this year’s fruits are much larger than usual.

Israeli apples 370. (photo credit: Yisrael Doron/Agriculture Ministry)

As the month of Tishrei and the holiday season unfold, Israeli consumers will demand large amounts of fish, honey, apples and pomegranates in comparison to their habitual eating routines.

While the average Israeli consumes only about 11 kilos of fish per year, during the month of Tishrei Israelis will each consume about 1.8 kg. – twice the monthly average during the rest of the year, the Agriculture Ministry reported.

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The fish most popular among Israelis during Tishrei is carp, followed by tilapia and mullet. Carp consumption jumps from 350 tons monthly to 1,000 tons during Tishrei, tilapia jumps from 500 to 850 and mullet from 170 to 250.

Israeli per capita fish consumption is much lower than that of other countries in the region, with most other Mediterranean countries achieving a figure of between 20 and 40 kg. per person.

Japanese per capita fish consumption is 60 kg. and American is 6 to 7 kg., the ministry said.

Like fish, pomegranates remain very popular this holiday season, and an additional 200 hectares of the fruit were planted this year in comparison to last year, bringing the total quantity of pomegranate orchards to 2,500 hectares or about 60,000 tons of the fruit.

All in all, Israelis consume about 14,000 tons of pomegranates annually and 8,000 tons during the month of Tishrei, according to ministry data.

Exports of pomegranates from Israel are expected to rise by 20 percent in comparison to last year and by 50% in comparison to two years ago, with the total quantity of exports reaching 30,000 tons or more, the ministry estimated.

For many years, Israeli agriculturalists focused primarily on marketing the pomegranate during the High Holy Day season, and orchards occupied only about 350 hectares of land. However, a pomegranate- picking machine developed at the Volcani Institute and the entrance of ready-toeat pomegranate seeds into the market sparked an increase in the fruit’s demand, both in Israel and around the world, the ministry explained.

Today, pomegranate seeds are used in natural juices, alcoholic beverages, ice creams, health products and cosmetics.

Apples and honey, perhaps the universal symbols for the Jewish New Year, will also frequent Israeli tables this Tishrei.

In 2012, the apple harvest yielded about 140,000 tons, far exceeding the average quantity of 115,000 tons. This year, the apple harvest falls below the annual average, with only about 100,000 tons of the fruit, the ministry reported. However, thanks to excellent growing conditions, the apples themselves are much larger than usual, the ministry said.

Because apples thrive in cold conditions, Israel has only certain areas where the fruits can grow, such as the Galilee and the Golan Heights, at an elevation of 600 meters. Israel therefore does not export apples, aside from exports that Golan Druse populations have sent to Syria in recent years, the ministry said.

On Rosh Hashana, with the apples comes the honey.

Israelis consume about 50% of their entire year’s worth of honey during Tishrei – equivalent to 300 grams per capita or 2,000 tons in total.

In recent years, beekeepers and researchers have worked to considerably improve the quality of honey through meticulous laboratory tests, the ministry explained.

“The honeybee is the finest source of honey that every Israeli citizens enjoys,” said Haim Efrat, from the professional center for bees at the ministry’s Extension Services.

“But beyond producing honey, the bee is very important because of its role in pollinating crops and wildflowers.”

“Without bees we would not be able to produce a lot of the fruits and vegetables that grace our country,” Efrat said.

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