As autumn settles in, the delights of the harvest are ours to celebrate. The pell-mell pandemonium and near panic of watering, weeding, and watching over plants for pests and fertilizing needs all summer are put to rest. Harvest fruits are frozen for future use or captured deliciously in salads, sauces, soups, pies, and preserves.
Of course, no sooner are we pulling up spent vines and stalks, than we are prolifically planning next year’s garden! Compelled in the abundance to carry on, we calculate, estimate, and dictate to workers (or husbands and strong young sons!) instructions for bigger beds, soil amendments, cover crops, mulch delivery….
Amidst the rumpus, the LORD decreed a pause—a mandatory break from “regular work” to take it all in, to celebrate during the time of ingathered harvest, and to celebrate with great joy.
Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your festival
Deuteronomy 16:13-14 NIV
The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.” Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.
Nehemiah 8:11-12 NIV
The Israelites were commanded to celebrate for a full week, a tradition that continues in the Jewish holiday of Sukkot going on right now. There are four plant species associated with celebrating Sukkot; branches of palm, myrtle, and willow are woven together to form the “lulav,” held up with the “etrog,” or citron fruit, similar to a lemon. Look for these plants to fill future blogs and find more information on how to enjoy them in your own Bible garden in our Plant Guide .
However, in honor of the complete joy and the harvest gathered, along with the delight and whimsy of tasting…that the LORD is good, enjoy a recipe for barley biscotti: dunked in pomegranate tea and spread with fig jam, this breakfast brings together the complete list of promised plants from the good land God set apart for Abraham’s descendants. Yes, a little whimsy as we cram all seven species from Deuteronomy 8:8 into one mouthful! Though hopefully, we can rest and linger over a simple breakfast or tea-time and delight in God’s Word.
The other five species [besides spring’s grain harvests] promised to Israel — grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and date honey (Deuteronomy 8:8) — were fruited vines and trees whose sweet produce was harvested in the autumn, having persevered through the hot, rainless summer months to expand the Israelites’ diet and resources in rich, bountiful and whimsical ways.
—from “Serious Celebrating,” God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, page 1069
Biscotti are basically quickbreads, sliced and baked a second time to dehydrate for longer storage—perfect to prepare ahead of time for a week of “tabernacle” or tent-dwelling (or a business travel week in a hotel!) They have an intentionally rustic, non-sweet texture so that they can be dunked and softened in a warm cup of sweetened tea or coffee, and spread with jam.
Puree in a food processor:
8 fresh pitted dates
½ C. water
Transfer to medium bowl and blend thoroughly with:
1 T. olive oil
2 T. brown sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1/3 C. raisins
In separate bowl, mix together evenly:
1 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. barley flour
¾ tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
Add the dry to the wet ingredients. Batter will be stiff; mix until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Knead dough just a bit and work into a rectangle form, approximately 8 – 10 inches long and 4 -5 inches wide. Place dough on parchment paper covering a cookie sheet.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool, approximately 1 hour.
Slice into ½ to ¾ inch wide strips. Place on their sides back on parchment paper/cookie sheet and return to 250° oven for 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on the still warm cookie sheet, then store in airtight container.
Makes about 12 biscotti. Recipe can be doubled.
For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.
Deuteronomy 16:15 NIV
Photo Credits: ©2015 Shelley S. Cramm Barley Biscotti pose with pomegranate sprigs and beckon a Deuteronomy 8:8 breakfast
My fig jam came from the garden gift shop at the L. A. Arboretum during my trip there last week with Garden Writers Association. Look for more next week on all the Bible plants established at the founding of the Arboretum.