November 16th-18th 2020 – Spice up your week

One of the reasons we chose to work in cooperation with the “Iza Pziza” Dairy and to enthusiastically recommend their outstanding range of dairy products is because of how they raise their goat herds. At Iza Pziza, they respect the rights and needs of the animals, rather than viewing them as only a means to satisfy our needs as human beings.

In keeping with this philosophy, the dairy halts milking nanny goats from the end of their pregnancy towards birthing, all the way till when the babies are weaned. Each year during this period, most of the Iza Pziza goats are to be found in various stages of pregnancy, and the dairy is now at the point where they are forced to cease milking the majority of the herd in preparation for birthing. For the past several weeks, they have been trying to gradually decrease the milk supply, yet the seasonality and the fact that breeding is natural have created a slightly different reality.

The bottom line is that the dairy must suspend supplying products for the coming weeks in order to allow the goats to rest up in preparation for the impending births. As mentioned, even afterwards the milk will not reappear immediately since the babies will be nursing.

We hope that during January, the milk yield will once again increase and the dairy will be able to gradually return to producing all its outstanding products. In the meantime, Alon Tzaban and the wonderful Iza Pziza staff cordially invite you to come to Moshav Tal Shachar to visit the goats and maybe the new little ones as well. In their shop, you can still enjoy delicious milk, natural yogurt, and a variety of hard cheeses.

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Eliezer and Sarah-Roze of Shorshei Tzion are delighted to boost your yummy chocolate supply with three new flavors: Peanut Butter Chocolate, White Chocolate Cream with Cocoa Flakes, and White Chocolate Cream with Pistachios.

These three amazing bars join the rich, distinctive line of Shorshei Zion, which produces a marvelous range of raw and healthy vegan foods from the finest raw materials. Order these products today via Chubeza’s Order System!

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Along with the large and small winter greens, this is also the ripe hour for the herbs. Every week we try to supply you with at least one contingent of the holy-but-never-boring-trinity: parsley, coriander and dill. Though they grow all year long (the parsley is the most resilient of the three), there is no comparison between the faint coriander of summer to the vigorous winter version, or a small, stubborn hot-weather parsley to its nonchalant, quick-to-bloom winter sister. Over the coming newsletters, we will showcase this fearsome threesome, so familiar, so well known, so always-there-for-us. Still, we have one or two new facts to reveal…

So…it’s time for Herb #1:

Striking a Dill

Unless you make the effort, it’s easy to overlook one of the loveliest and most beneficial herbs to grace our gardens and cuisine. Don’t let the wispy, delicate appearance of fresh dill fool you—this hearty green herb is both a powerhouse of nutrition and health benefits as well as a distinctively delicious seasoning.

The English name “dill” is derived from the ancient Nordic “dilla” or “dile,” meaning “calming and soothing.” This probably reflects the common use of dill tea in folk medicine to help babies fall asleep and to soothe their painful gums. Sometimes mothers would also bake dill biscuits to ease teething woes.  Dill tea relieves stomachaches and other digestive ills, as well as increasing nursing mothers’ milk.

Officially, the proper Hebrew name for dill is “shevet reichani” – aromatic “shevet,” but the name this herb somehow ended up with is “Shamir”, a word actually used to describe a thorny wild plant used metaphorically in the Bible when describing a farm overgrown with weeds. Amotz Cohen, teacher and nature explorer, believes that dill is really the “poterium” found primarily in abandoned fields over the country.

Dill originated in Southern Europe (the Mediterranean Basin) and Russia. It is an annual plant from the Umbelliferae family, sibling to (as we already know) such other seasoning herbs as parsley, coriander, and celery, and root vegetables like carrot, parsnip, and chunky fennel. The dill’s stem is branched and its leaves are feathery. It blossoms from the branches in a way that resembles a multi-tipped umbrella. After it blossoms, the seeds can be gathered and used for seasoning and for medicinal aids.

Dill is a plant that was probably domesticated many long years ago. Our forefathers used it to season stews and for pickling, taking full advantage of the entire plant. As the Talmud (Avodah Zara 7b) describes, “the dill is tithed, seed and vegetable and stalk,” i.e., all parts of the dill are in use and hence must be tithed. Such diversity continues to this day, with green dill sprigs being used to flavor pickling brine and to garnish soups, cheeses, salads and seafood. Its seeds are used to flavor baked goods, potatoes, vegetables, cakes, sauces and liquors. In India, powdered dill seed is a main curry ingredient.

Dill’s pungent scent may be the secret to its use as an amulet against ghosts and demons, and its integral presence in the beginner witch kit. It is also said to be an aphrodisiac, and Pythagoras recommended holding a bundle of dill in your left hand to prevent epileptic seizures (perhaps because seizures were perceived as being caused by the demon). The Greeks viewed dill as a symbol of prosperity, and flaunted their wealth by burning oil spiked with dill.

Herbs in the Umbelliferae family–including dill–contain phytochemicals, many of which have cancer-preventing attributes. These phytochemicals block hormonal activity that is linked to the development of cancer cells. Recent research has indicated that dill boasts a high level of antioxidant capabilities as well.

Other research analyses and reconfirms the virtues of dill in soothing the digestive system. It has been found to be chock full of bactericide compounds and to have a protective influence on the Gastric mucosa.

Some folk remedies:

  • To make dill tea: Pour boiling water over the dill greens and steep, or cook 5 teaspoons of seeds in 1 liter water for 15 minutes. Drain.
  • To relieve gas, regulate digestion and encourage lactation for nursing mommies, to freshen your breath and ease a cough: sweeten with honey and drink 2-3 cups per day.
  • Give colicky babies 5 teaspoons of dill tea per day.
  • To get rid of bad breath: gargle dill tea several times per day.
  • For eye infections: dip a cloth pad in the warm liquid and place on the eye.

Dill is a source of such vitamins and minerals as potassium, beta carotene (pro vitamin A), folic acid, and vitamin C.

Tips for dill use

  • The dill that grows in India is a different species. Its seeds are bigger, but their taste is milder, which is why when you are cooking an Indian recipe, it is recommended to reduce the amount of dill seeds by 30-50%.
  • To make dill-spiced vinegar, use a mild vinegar (apple vinegar, for instance), place a bundle of dill inside, add a clove of garlic and pepper, if desired. Store for a few weeks in a cool, dark spot.

You can find recipes for dill use in our ever-growing recipe section.

This week has been a wonderful interlude between rain and sunshine. Now we wish you all a bright rainy week to come, fragrant with blossoms, spiced with a smile, and free of stomachaches, toothaches and heartaches!

Alon, Bat-Ami, Dror, and the entire Chubeza team

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WHAT’S IN THIS WEEK’S BOXES?

This Monday we sent you herbs and certain vegetables without wrapping them in plastic bags. This is because packing rain-wet greens in plastic bags will cause them to rot. But—to help the veggies best maintain their freshness once they reach your home, place them in bags or airtight plastic containers lined with paper towels. 

Monday:  Winter spinach/kale, slice of pumpkin/zucchini, arugula/mizuna, beets/onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, turnips/kohlrabi/daikon/Jerusalem artichokes, coriander/parsley/dill, carrots/potatoes, sweet potatoes. Small boxes only: cabbage/cauliflower.

Large box, in addition: Swiss chard/bok choy/totsoi, baby radishes/fennel, bell peppers/eggplant/lubia Thai yard-long beans, scallions/celery.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, apples/kiwi, clementinas, oranges/pomelit/pomela, avocados.

Wednesday:  Swiss chard/bok choy/totsoi/celery, slice of pumpkin/lubia Thai yard-long beans, beets/potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, turnips/kohlrabi/daikon/baby radish, coriander/parsley/dill, carrots, sweet potatoes. Small boxes only: cabbage/cauliflower/Jerusalem artichokes, bell peppers/eggplant.  A gift: arugula/mizuna

Large box, in addition: Winter spinach/kale, fennel, scallions/onions.

FRUIT BOXES: Bananas, apples/kiwi, clementinas, oranges/pomelit/pomela, avocados.