14 Days in Israel and Nana Tea

by lisafischoff

If I had thought ahead, I would have remembered how much blogging normally guides my photos. If I knew I was going to resurrect this blog and actually post for the first time since August (!!) I would have taken so many more pictures of the shuks (markets) and so many more pictures of the food. The rows and rows of pastries, piles of pomegranates and the old style juicers they use to press them into a large cup for only 6 shekels. The vats of olives and all the bright red strawberries neatly arranged with their shiny pointed ends lined up tightly in rows creating a pyramid that looks like a jenga game.

While I didn’t take so many pictures I did manage to drag so much of it home with me that airport security questioned me for nearly an hour leaving Israel. It was mostly the honey that had them concerned. In the end, after much debate, my little jar of honey (purchased on the top of a mountain in the Golan Heights near Syria) ended up wrapped in bubble wrap and packed in a separate cardboard box as if I were transporting livestock. My cab driver in New York even insisted that it was an empty box and I should throw it out – then he looked at me funny when I told him it was a jar of honey.

Somehow, even through all of that, they managed to ignore the nana plant I had shoved in a ziploc bag and wrapped clothes. Nana is a type of Moroccan mint similar to spearmint but it has a lighter flavor and it’s everywhere in Israel, not only in food but also in all kinds of hot and cold teas. I’m not sure if you can find it fresh in the US (it’s definitely available dried though usually as moroccan mint tea) but it grows like a weed so as long as I manage not to kill it, my one small plant will hopefully take over my deck.

It has such a unique flavor that I actually like best just on it’s own in hot water but when I got home I found a chunk of ginger and 5 lemons in my fridge that I’d forgotten when I left so I sliced some of each and threw them all together in a jar. It’s great warm at night or room temperature in the morning.

For more pictures, click here.

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