Post 116: My reaction to Catch the Jew by Tuvia Tenenbaum: the work of the Institute for Zionist Strategies to combat the NGO’s in Israel, a JEW travels where they are not permitted to travel in Israel. Making Almond cheese


‘Catch the Jew!’ was reviewed in the Algemainer, and given the title: Replete With Diverse People in an Ideological Minefield

MAY 10, 2015 10:51 AM


avatarAmelia Katzen / with my additions  in green.


In the recently published Catch the Jew! Tuvia Tenenbom is a German journalist playing the role of a Martian, but he lands in middle of the state of Israel. His publisher has given him the assignment of writing about Israel by interviewing its inhabitants over the course of seven months. He arrives in Israel more or less a tabula rasa, a blank slate, with no political agenda or expectations. What does he find? People of all sorts, who are surprising, predictable, infuriating, self-serving, dedicated, funny, sad, uplifting, depressing, and enlightening. There’s something for everyone.

Tenenbom was born in Jerusalem to an ultra-religious and anti-Zionist family, left the fold as a young man to live in the United States, and later moved to Germany, where he works as a journalist. He is fluent in Hebrew, English, German, and Arabic, all of which he uses both as cover and to ingratiate himself as needed with the subjects of his interviews. In private, he refers to himself as a zekel beiner, “a sack of bones.”

Why the Title?, Whenever Tenenbom probes his subjects and they start to sweat their response is, “You must be a Jew! I’ve caught you. Hence anything that you say must be a lie”. He visits the areas that are under PLO control, where a Jew is not permitted: Ramallah, greater Hebron, Jerecho, etc. all very beautiful, fully funded by American and European NGO’s 

(From the Institute for Zionist Strategies) The book is particularly important  because now the Israeli government is waking up to the influence of European and American NGO’s attempts to control Israeli elections. This was seen in the last election in March in Israel, by  outright planning demonstrations by NGO’s in Tel Aviv. In a subsequent blog, the Knesset’s  steps to keep track of the NGO”s in Israel will be discussed 

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) wield very significant political and legal power in Israel, particularly through their use of the language and frameworks of human rights and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians. These NGOs are also a major and often hidden channel for external influence in Israeli foreign and security policies.

Much of the funding for political lobbies that claim to be based in Israeli “civil society” comes from foreign sources – particularly European governments, including the European Commission – as well as foundations such as the New Israel Fund, the Ford Foundation, and the Open Society Institute. By using the generous resources made available by these external donors, the Israel-based NGO network is able to promote particular political ideologies, and to oppose the policies of the democratically elected government on many issues.

The NGOs discussed in this analysis are highly active and visible participants in both the international and national debates on issues such as the status and future of Jerusalem, the disputed territories in the West Bank, and the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). These NGOs issue high-profile statements and reports, generate media publicity, organize demonstrations, speak to student groups and army units, and use the courts to advance their political agendas.

In the international arena, the same NGOs submit statements to United Nations frameworks such as the Human Rights Council, run major media campaigns, and spearhead lawsuits in various countries. Using the tens of millions of shekels, euros, and dollars they receive each year, the externally funded NGO network is far more powerful than other Israeli organizations that do not enjoy similar support from foreign governments.

For example, as this Institute for Zionist Strategies report demonstrates, foreign-funded local NGOs are responsible for a significant portion of the petitions brought before the Israeli High Court of Justice. Citizens, residents, and even non-residents have standing to litigate in the Supreme Court, without having to provide evidence of potential or actual injury. Thus an individual or an organization that opposes a policy, law, or administrative action can initiate legal proceedings, even if the individual or organization is not directly affected by it. Furthermore, Israeli courts play a central role in public policy making, particularly with respect to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, thereby amplifying the impact of NGOs that operate in this arena.

Israeli courts have become a central arena for engaging contentious social and political issues, with major advantages for groups that have the resources to devote to this activity. Extensive support from European governments and private foundations gives political and opposition NGOs based in Israel the ability to carry the costs of numerous petitions and filings. This external financing allows these NGOs to become “repeat players” in the Israeli legal process, and thus to exert significant influence on policy formation.

As a democratic country with an open and pluralistic political system and facing a largely hostile external environment, Israeli society is particularly vulnerable to manipulation by externally funded NGOs. Outside political influence of this kind resonates throughout civil society. This hidden foreign intervention infringes on the sovereignty and independence of Israel by unbalancing the political process, and interfering with the policies of the elected government and the mainstream Zionist majority.

Internationally, these foreign-funded Israeli NGOs are highly visible in their opposition to the policies of the elected government and other civil society perspectives. Through frequent submissions to and appearances at the United Nations, together with their access to diplomatic and media frameworks, these NGOs have become very influential. A significant factor is their Israeli identities, which provides these NGOs with credibility and the façade of authenticity to their causes. A number of Israeli political NGOs funded by European governments maintain offices and an active presence in Washington, D.C., New York, London, Brussels, and other cities.

This study provides a detailed analysis of the activities of more than twenty Israel-based NGOs that receive funding from European governments. We examine the political agendas of these groups and the way that they influence Israeli policy making and public debate, including their intensive use of the legal system. This report also addresses the lack of transparency and accountability, known as the “democracy deficit,” that characterizes many politicized civil society organizations.

For example, B’Tselem received 27% of its 8 million NIS budget for 2007 from foreign governments, as well as substantial income from externally-based funds. While these sources are listed on their donor page, this significant government involvement is obscured in their official statement: “B’Tselem is independent and is funded by contributions from foundations in Europe and North America.” This NGO “acts primarily to change Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories,” a political objective bolstered by B’Tselem’s office in Washington, D.C., which brings their agenda directly to U.S. officials. While widely considered Israel’s premier human rights organization, B’Tselem has faced serious criticism for its misrepresentations of international law, inaccurate research, skewed statistics (including casualty lists), and selective attention to violations against Israelis. These problematic methodologies reinforce the Palestinian narrative of victimization and portray Israel as the sole impediment to peace.

Adalah is centrally involved in attempts to vilify and criminalize Israel, including in UN frameworks. The NGO helped prepare a pseudo-academic publication, which falsely labeled Israeli self-defense measures as “inhumane act[s] of apartheid…perpetrated in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another.” Adalah’s policy activism in Israel includes a proposed “Democratic Constitution,” which would radically alter the laws of Israel, eliminating Jewish state-symbols and limiting Jewish immigration to “humanitarian” needs. These activities are backed by a 5 million NIS budget (in 2007), 22% of which came from foreign governments.

Similarly, Ir Amim, with a 2007 budget of 4 million NIS, promotes Palestinian claims to Jerusalem. Their maps mark houses in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, as well as the neighborhoods of Gilo, Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev, as settlements. While officially engaged in universal “legal advocacy aimed at halting or mitigating unilateral actions that harm the fabric of life in Jerusalem,” their legal efforts target only Jewish housing initiatives. Ir Amim received 67% of its 2007 budget from foreign government sources.

These NGOs and others examined in this report support the policies and interests of their funders, thereby distorting Israeli political and social discourse, and the internal debates on critical issues. Crucial discussions and policy decisions concerning peace negotiations, settlements, security, responses to terror, the status of Palestinians who immigrate to Israel by marrying Israeli-Arabs, and numerous other major issues are subject to hidden external pressure. At the same time, political NGOs use European funding to oppose and campaign against the policies of Israel’s democratic elected government around the world.

Based on this analysis, we argue that the Israeli government has an urgent obligation to address the implications of such massive and unique foreign funding for political NGOs. The principle of free speech must be preserved, together with limiting the ability of foreign governments to both manipulate domestic politics and to undermine Israel’s international legitimacy.

The first step in this process is to ensure transparency in the transfer of foreign governmental funds to NGOs. We recommend that Israeli government officials give high priority to discussions with their European counterparts on ending the secrecy which characterizes government funding decisions for political NGOs, and establishing clear principles for any continued support of these lobbies. In addition, NGOs in Israel that receive funding from foreign governments should be required to state this in any of the activities, publications, and advertisements that they undertake.

Tenenbaum starts his “sociological” study as an outsider. He  settles into a Templar House in the German Colony. Instead of using chapters to divide his book, he divides the trip into Gate 1,2 etc. Tenenborn is moving, searching, struggling to understand the spewed hatred of Israel, which is acceptable today.  As a  former Orthodox Jew the use of Gate is deliberate. Gate implies levels of knowledge of  Hashem. It’s a sad book in many ways including many elements of grieving for his lost innocence. The following story helped me to comprehend where Tenenborn was coming from. Underlying is the question, “Where is G-d in all this chaos?”  

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks is a philosophy graduate of Cambridge University. He tells the following story. After graduating, he spent some time studying in yeshiva at Kfar ChaBaD in Israel. On one occasion, he was studying Hassidism with a chassidic student who had been born and bred in the Kfar. In the middle of their studies, the chassidic student turned to the Chief Rabbi and said, “Do you know what the difference between me and you is? You think about G-d all day and I think about myself all day!” The Chief Rabbi was somewhat taken aback by this statement. He asked his study partner, “But surely you who have been raised in this isolated chassidic village and spoon fed with faith and stories of the righteous, you should be thinking about G-d all day, and I who was educated in the bastions of secular philosophy should be thinking about myself all day!” The student replied, “You failed to understand my point. You who attended university and received a degree in philosophy know that you exist; your only question is whether G-d exists, so you think about G-d all day. I, who was raised in Kfar ChaBaD, know there is a G-d, but my whole question is where I fit into the picture, and how I fulfill the will of G-d. Therefore, I think about myself all day!” I think that the educated Tenenbom is search for G-d in his travels.

This story encapsulates what Kabbalah describes as Daat Elyon (Supernal knowledge) and Daat Tachton (terrestrial knowledge). Or simply put, the view from Above and the view from below. From G-d’s perspective, He exists and we are merely an infinitesimally small manifestation of His Divine creative energy. That is Daat Elyon. His knowledge of us is knowledge of Himself. From our perspective, the Western EDUCATED ones, we and our world exist—the whole question is how G-d fits into our world. 

Tenenbom talks to Palestinians and Jews, the religious and the secular, leftists and conservatives, Bedouins and settlers, street-walker and Members of Knesset. He asks Jews what it means to be an Israeli, Palestinians what it means to live in Israel, Bedouin women what their sex life is like (and can they please invite him inside their house?), NGOs where they get their money. Though they are initially evasive, Tuvia persists, and what they tell him is amazingly revealing. What this reader finds compelling is the capturing his subjects in a lie, unexpectedly by a polite German. They are caught off guard. The biggest lie that he hears is that no Jewish state ever existed, there has never been a Jewish Temple and that “Palestinians” have been living in the land for hundred’s of thousands of years.  If it were not so sad it would be laughable.

Tuvia starts his Israeli sojourn with a visit to the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. He is puzzled by his inability as either a Jew or a Christian (he tries both identities) to visit the mosques without being denied access by Israeli police or chased away by Arabs. In contrast to other places in the world, he discovers, “Here the ones occupied, the Arabs, dictate to the occupiers, the Jews, that they, the Jews, must protect them, the Arabs, from their brethren, the other Jews, and from the Christians.” This type of insight is typical.

Among the Arabs that “Tobi the German journalist” befriends is General Jibril Rajoub, a charismatic leader jailed more than once by the Israelis for terrorism and previously head of the Palestinian Authority’s intelligence and security apparatus. Jibril invites Tobi to a Palestinian Independence Day party in Bil’in, site of ongoing protests against the separation wall and the star of the film “5 Broken Cameras.”

As it turns out, Tobi is not the only guest, and it’s not exactly a party. He mounts a bus full of European diplomats and NGO workers, some wearing Hermes scarves with their keffiyehs, which takes them to a spot guarded by a handful of Israel Defense Forces soldiers. European journalists set up their cameras in one area; Palestinians are praying in another. An imam incites the crowd, youths start to throw rocks, the soldiers do nothing. Eventually the rocks become boulders, then firebombs. Now the soldiers respond with tear gas, the cameras start to roll, and the party guests run for cover. Once the journalists have enough and begin to pack up, the “protest” ends. If I were to choose the most illuminating narrative in the book it would be this “demonstation” for the cameras.

As he travels through Palestinian towns, Tuvia learns that funding for the beautiful homes and Arab cultural centers comes from the European Union (EU), especially Germany. He visits Gerald Steinberg of the NGO Monitor research institute. Of 150 or more international NGOs operating in Israel,  many with funds from Jews in America, 50 are funded by Germany or German foundations, and all of them are pro-Palestinian. Tuvia wonders why these young Europeans are so dedicated to protecting the Palestinians from Israeli oppression.  Americans, Germans and the European Union fund the NGO’s, which is the PLO economy.

A good deal of the narrative involves Tenenbom’s description of Germany’s love of the Arabs. He joins a group of “Peace Seekers”, typical of the NGOs that are spread across the “West Bank”.  This one, with great influence,  is the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, (KAS), has as it’s stated goal, to instill love in the hearts of Arabs and Jews towards each other. They establish a neutral place for the two groups to meet. KAS rents a Jordanian Hotel for this purpose. How much the educated Christians hate the Jews surprises him. Norwegians were collaborators . 

Tuvia finds his answer as he follows a group of Italian youths touring the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, led by an Israeli named Itamar, “a proud ex-Jew.” The educational trip has been arranged by an Italian institution in Milano and paid for by the EU. Tuvia wonders what these Europeans will think about the “Dead Jews’ Museum.” But Itamar the educator does his best to turn the World War II story into a contemporary one, by making comparisons between then and now—that is, between yesterday’s Nazis and today’s Israelis.

Thanks to their guide, at each exhibit, the Italians see the dead Jews of the camps but hear the name “Palestine.” They watch a film of Nazi officers but hear the name Israel. As Tenenbom puts it, the Europeans are “using Yad Vashem, the monument for millions of Jews slaughtered at their hands, as a platform for poisonous propaganda against the survivors of their butchery.”

“Catch the Jew!” is filled with such realizations, small and large. It is at once a breezily written travelogue and a voyage through the political landscape, spotted with ideological landmines at every step. Even if you think you know everything there is to know about Israel, you’ll meet people you never knew existed and you’ll have fun getting to know them. But beware: in June, Tuvia told, he will be starting his research for a new book—about the U.S.

“Catch the Jew!” by Tuvia Tenenbom, Gefen Publishing House, February 2015, 484 pages, $24.95.

A Guide to drying fruit in your oven by P. Kendall and J. Sofos* (6/12) Colorado State

Dried Fruit

Drying is a creative way to preserve foods and use home-grown fruit, extra produce (e.g., ripe bananas) and produce from the Shuk. Like all methods of preservation, drying causes some nutrient loss. Nutritional changes that occur during drying include:

  • Calorie content: does not change, but is concentrated into a smaller mass as moisture is removed.
  • Fiber: no change.
  • Vitamin A: fairly well retained under controlled heat methods.
  • Vitamin C: pretreatment with ascorbic acid or lemon juices enhances levels of vitamin C, though loss will occur during drying.
  • Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin: fairly good retention.
  • Minerals: fairly good retention.
  • For best retention of nutrients in dried foods, store in a cool, dark, dry place and use within a year.

Selecting and Pretreating Fruits

Select fresh and fully ripened fruits. Immature produce lacks flavor and color. Over mature produce can be tough and fibrous or soft and mushy. Drying does not improve food quality. See Table 1 for approximate yields of dried fruits.

Thoroughly wash and clean fruits to remove dirt. Sort and discard any fruit that shows decay, bruises, or mold. Such defects can affect all foods being dried.

Pretreating fruits prior to drying is highly recommended. Pretreating helps keep light-colored fruits from darkening during drying and storage and it speeds the drying of fruits with tough skins, such as grapes and cherries. Research studies have shown that pretreating with an acidic solution or sodium metabisulfite dip also enhances the destruction of potentially harmful bacteria during drying, including Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella species and Listeria monocytogenes. Several methods can be used.

Ascorbic Acid Pretreatment

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is an antioxidant that keeps fruit from darkening and enhances destruction of bacteria during drying. Pure crystals usually are available at supermarkets and drug stores. Stir 2 1/2 tablespoons (34 grams) of pure ascorbic acid crystals into one quart (1000 milliliters) of cold water. For smaller batches prepare a solution using 3 3/4 teaspoons (17 grams) of pure ascorbic acid crystals per 2 cups of cold water. Vitamin C tablets can be crushed and used (six 500 milligram tablets equal 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid). One quart of solution treats about 10 quarts of cut fruit. Cut peeled fruit directly in ascorbic acid solution. Soak for 10 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and dehydrate. Commercial antioxidant mixtures are not as effective as ascorbic acid but are more readily available in grocery stores. Follow directions on the container for fresh cut fruit.

Citric Acid or Lemon Juice Pretreatment

Citric acid or lemon juice may also be used as antidarkening and antimicrobial pretreatments. Prepare the citric acid solution by stirring 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of citric acid into one quart (1000 milliliters) of cold water. For the lemon juice solution, mix equal parts of lemon juice and cold water (i.e., 1 cup lemon juice and 1 cup water). Cut the peeled fruit directly into the citric acid or lemon juice solution. Allow to soak 10 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and dehydrate. Citric acid is often available in the canning section of the supermarket.

Sodium Metabisulfite Pretreatment

Sulfur and sulfite compounds have been used for centuries to prevent discoloration and reduce spoilage during the preparation, dehydration, storage, and distribution of many foods. However, sulfites may initiate asthmatic reactions in some people, especially those with asthma. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the use of sulfites on fresh fruits and vegetables for sale or served raw to consumers. They are still used as an antimicrobial agent and to help preserve the color of some dried fruit products.

If you choose to use a sulfiting agent, use U.S.P. (food grade) or Reagent Grade sodium metabisulfite, not Practical Grade. Sodium metabisulfite is often available at pharmacies or where wine-making supplies are sold. Stir 1 tablespoon (21 grams) sodium metabisulfite into one quart (1000 milliliters) of cold water. Cut the peeled fruit directly into the sodium metabisulfite solution. Allow to soak 10 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and dehydrate. Due to health and safety concerns, do not use burning sulfur to pretreat fruits for drying.

Caution: Pretreating with sodium metabisulfite is not recommended if you or others who will be consuming the dried fruit have known sulfite sensitivity.

Cracking Skins

Fruits such as grapes, prunes, small dark plums, cherries, figs, and firm berries have tough skins with a wax-like coating. To allow inside moisture to evaporate, crack or “check” skins before drying whole fruits. To crack skins, dip fruit in briskly boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds, then dip in very cold water. Drain on absorbent towels before placing on drying trays.

Table 1. Yield of dried fruits
Amount purchased or picked Amount dried product
Produce Pounds Pounds Pints
Apples 12 1 1/4 3
Grapes 12 2 3
Peaches 12 1 to 1 1/2 2 to 3
Pears 14 1 1/2 3
Tomatoes 14 1/2 2 1/2 to 3

Drying Trays

Drying trays can be simple or complex, purchased or built. Good air circulation without reaction between food and trays is most important. For small amounts of food and trial runs, cheesecloth or synthetic curtain netting stretched over oven racks, cake racks, broiler racks or cookie sheets work well. Attach with clothes pins. For large quantities of food, use shallow wooden or plastic trays with slatted, perforated or woven bottoms.

If preparing your own trays, do not use galvanized screening for tray bottoms. It has been treated with zinc and cadmium, which can cause a harmful reaction when in contact with acid foods. Other metals such as aluminum also are not advisable because they may discolor and corrode with use. If used, line with cheesecloth or synthetic curtain netting to keep food from touching the metal. A liner also helps keep foods from sticking to trays and prevents pieces of food from falling through.

Wash trays in hot, sudsy water with a stiff brush. Rinse in clear water and air dry thoroughly before and after each use. A light coat of fresh vegetable oil or nonstick substance helps protect wood slats and makes cleaning easier.

If trays are used in an oven, they should be 1 1/2 inches smaller in length and width than the oven dimensions to allow for good air circulation. When stacking trays, place blocks of wood 2 inches or higher between trays.

Drying Methods

Arrange pretreated fruits on drying trays in single layers, pit cavity up. Dry at 140 degrees F (60°C) in an oven or dehydrator. The length of time needed to dry fruits will depend on the size of the pieces being dried, humidity and the amount of air circulation in the dehydrator or oven. Thinner slices and smaller pieces will dry more quickly than larger, thicker pieces or whole fruits. Also, products will generally dry more quickly in convection ovens or electric dehydrators than in conventional ovens. At a drying temperature of 140 degrees F, plan on about 6 hours for thin apple slices to 36 hours for peach halves. If possible, stir food and turn large pieces over every 3 to 4 hours during the drying period. Fruits scorch easily toward the end of drying. Therefore, it’s best to turn the power off when drying is almost complete and open the door wide for an additional hour before removing pieces.

Testing for Dryness

Dry fruits enough to prevent microbial growth and subsequent spoilage. Dried fruits should be leathery and pliable. See Table 2 for dryness test on individual fruits. To test foods for dryness, remove a few pieces and let cool to room temperature. When warm or hot, fruits seem more soft, moist and pliable than they actually are. Squeeze a handful of the fruit. If no moisture is left on the hand and pieces spring apart when released, they are dry.

Post-Drying Treatment

Conditioning. When drying is complete, some pieces will be moister than others due to their size and placement during drying. Conditioning is a process used to evenly distribute the minimal residual moisture throughout all pieces. This reduces the chance of spoilage, especially from mold. To condition, place cooled, dried fruit loosely in large plastic or glass containers, about two-thirds full. Lightly cover and store in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place for four to 10 days. Stir or shake containers daily to separate pieces. If beads of moisture form inside, return food to drying trays for further drying, then repeat the conditioning step.

Packaging and Storage

After conditioning, pack cooled, dried foods in small amounts in dry, scalded glass jars (preferably dark) or in moisture- and vaporproof freezer containers, boxes or bags. Label packages with name of product, date and method of pretreatment and drying. Tightly seal containers to prevent reabsorption of moisture or entry of insects. Store in a cool, dry, dark place or in the refrigerator or freezer. Properly stored, dried fruits keep well for six to 12 months. Discard foods that have off odors or show signs of mold.

Using Dried Fruits

Dried fruits are a great snack, being convenient and easy to pack no matter the season or activity. Dried fruits can also be added to granola or hot cereals, salads, pilafs, meat dishes and much more.

To cook dried fruit, cover with boiling water and simmer covered until tender (about 15 minutes). If needed, sweeten to taste near the end of cooking or after removing from heat. Most dried fruits need no extra sweetening. If desired, add a few grains of salt to help bring out the fruit’s natural sweetness, or add a little lemon, orange or grapefruit juice just before serving. This helps give fruits a fresh flavor and adds vitamin C.

To reconstitute fruit for use in a cooked dish, such as a pie, place it in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak until tender and liquid is absorbed (one hour or longer). Thinly sliced fruits may not require soaking before using in cooked dishes.

Reconstituted or dried fruits are excellent in cobblers, breads, pies, puddings, gelatin salads, milk shakes and cooked cereals. Any liquid that remains after soaking can be used as part of the water needed in the recipe.

Table 2 Steps for drying fruit
Fruit Drying Procedure
Apples Select mature, firm apples. Wash well. Pare and core. Cut in rings or slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick or cut in quarters or eighths. Dip in ascorbic acid or other antidarkening/antimicrobial solution for 10 minutes. Remove from solution and drain well. Arrange in single layer on trays, pit side up. Dry until soft, pliable, and leathery; no moist area in center when cut (6-24 hours).
Apricots Select firm, fully ripe fruit. Wash well. Cut in half and remove pit. Do not peel. Dip in ascorbic acid or other antidarkening/antimicrobial solution for 10 minutes. Remove from solution and drain well. Arrange in single layer on trays, pit side up with cavity popped up to expose more flesh to the air. Dry until soft, pliable, and leathery; no moist area in center when cut (24-36 hours).
Bananas Select firm, ripe fruit. Peel. Cut in 1/8 inch slices. Dip in citric acid or other antidarkening/antimicrobial solution for 10 minutes. Remove and drain well. Arrange in single layer on trays. Dry until tough and leathery (6-10 hours).
Berries Select firm ripe fruit. Wash well. Leave whole or cut in half. For berries with firm skins, dip in boiling water 30 seconds to crack skins. For berries with soft skins (strawberries), dip in ascorbic acid or other antimicrobial solution for 10 minutes. Remove and drain well. Place on drying trays not more than two berries deep. Dry until hard and berries rattle when shaken on trays (24-36 hours).
Cherries Select fully ripe fruit. Wash well. Remove stems and pits. Dip whole cherries in boiling water 30 seconds to crack skins. May also dip in ascorbic acid or other antimicrobial solution for 10 minutes. Remove and drain well. Arrange in single layer on trays. Dry until tough, leathery, and slightly sticky (24-36 hours).
Citrus peel Select thick-skinned oranges without mold or decay and no color added to skin. Scrub oranges well with brush under cool running water. Thinly peel outer 1/16 to 1/8 inch of the peel; avoid white bitter part. Dip in ascorbic acid or other antimicrobial solution for 10 minutes. Remove from solution and drain well. Arrange in single layers on trays. Dry until crisp (8-12 hours).
Figs Select fully ripe fruit. Wash or clean well with damp towel. Peel if desired. Leave whole if small or partly dried on tree; cut large figs in halves or slices. If drying whole figs, crack skins by dipping in boiling water for 30 seconds. For cut figs, dip in ascorbic acid or other antimicrobial solution for 10 minutes. Remove and drain. Arrange in single layers on trays. Dry until leathery and pliable (12-24 hours).
Grapes and Black Currants Select seedless varieties. Wash, sort, remove stems. Cut in half or leave whole. If drying whole, crack skins by dipping in boiling water for 30 seconds. If halved, dip in ascorbic acid or other antimicrobial solution for 10 minutes. Drain. Dry until pliable and leathery with no moist center (12-24 hours).
Melons Select mature, firm fruits that are heavy for their size; cantaloupe dries better than watermelon. Scrub outer surface well with brush under cool running water. Remove outer skin, any fibrous tissue and seeds. Cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick slices. Dip in ascorbic acid or other antimicrobial solution for 10 minutes. Remove and drain. Arrange in single layer on trays. Dry until leathery and pliable with no pockets of moisture (6-10 hours).
Nectarines and Peaches Select ripe, firm fruit. Wash and peel. Cut in half and remove pit. Cut in quarters or slices if desired. Dip in citric acid or other antidarkening/antimicrobial solution for 10 minutes. Remove and drain well. Arrange in single layer on trays pit side up. Turn halves over when visible juice disappears. Dry until leathery and somewhat pliable (6-36 hours).
Pears Select ripe, firm fruit. Bartlett variety is recommended. Wash fruit well. Pare, if desired. Cut in half lengthwise and core. Cut in quarters, eighths, or slices 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Dip in citric acid or other antidarkening/ antimicrobial solution for 10 minutes. Remove and drain. Arrange in single layer on trays pit side up. Dry until springy and suede-like with no pockets of moisture (6-10 hours for slices; 24-36 hours for halves).
Plums and prunes Wash well. Leave whole if small; cut large fruit into halves (pit removed) or slices. If left whole, crack skins in boiling water 1 to 2 minutes. If cut in half, dip in ascorbic acid or other antimicrobial solution for 10 minutes. Remove and drain. Arrange in single layer on trays pit side up, cavity popped out. Dry until pliable and leathery (6-10 hours for slices; 24-36 hours for halves).


Almond cheese From About Food

    • 1 cup whole raw unsalted almonds, skin removed (see notes about blanching and/or soaking almonds below)
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup water
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings of cheese

The First Step: Blanching and/or Soaking Almonds

Blanched almonds are almonds with the skin removed. You can buy blanched almonds or do it yourself. First, pour boiling water over the almonds and let the almonds soak for a few minutes. Drain and rinse the almonds then rub the almonds with a towel or just use your fingers to peel and pop the skin off.

Removing the skin before making almond cheese gives the cheese a smoother texture and lighter color that looks like cheese.

However, you can make the cheese with the skin on if you prefer.

Next, most recipes for homemade almond cheese call for soaking the blanched almonds in cold water for 24 hours before making the cheese. I have made this cheese with almonds that I soaked and with almonds that were un-soaked and noticed very little difference in the final product. The cheese made with soaked almonds was perhaps slightly creamier. So why bother soaking the almonds?

It is thought that soaking almonds ( and soaking other nuts and seeds) makes them easier to digest and makes it easier to absorb their nutrients. If you choose to soak the almonds before making this recipe, begin the night before. Place the almonds in a glass bowl or jar and cover completely with water. Cover the bowl or jar and refrigerate for 24 hours. Drain and rinse the almonds well.

Making the Lactose Free Almond Cheese

Put the almonds in a food processor or high-powered blender with the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and water. Blend until very smooth. This will take awhile, about 5 minutes.

Scrape the mixture into double-layered cheesecloth lining a colander. Gather the cheesecloth tightly around the almond mixture and secure into a bundle by using a rubber band or string to tie the top. Give the bundle a few gentle squeezes to remove liquid.

Leave the bundle in the colander and place in the refrigerator overnight over a bowl or rimmed plate to catch any liquid that might drain.

Refrigerate for at least 12 hours. This helps the texture of the cheese become firmer.

Discard any liquid that drains out. Carefully peel the cheesecloth off of the almond “cheese”. The “cheese” will have a consistency similar to cookie dough.

At this point, the almond cheese can be eaten as a spread or it can be gently shaped into a round about 3/4-inch thick and baked at 300 F for 30-40 minutes. After baking, the top will be dry and slightly firm. The inside will still be creamy.

Flavoring the Cheese

The cheese can be flavored by adding seasonings such as fresh garlic, fresh herbs and spices. Some recipes flavor the cheese with nutritional yeast. You can add these ingredients at the beginning when you are blending ingredients in the food processor or blender. You can also drizzle olive oil and fresh herbs over the almond cheese after it bakes.



Be vigilant while cleaning celery root, otherwise it can be a bit stringy.



Celery root replaces potatoes in our detox version of vichyssoise (but any root vegetable will do). This simple soup can easily be made vegan with vegetable stock.


1 medium leeks, white and light green part only

2 tablespoons olive oil

half head cauliflower

3 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

1 medium piece celery root, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces (about 1 pound)

2 ½ cups chicken (or vegetable) stock

1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice

1. Cut the leeks in half, and rinse very well, then cut into 1/3 inch slices. Sauté leeks in olive oil with a pinch of salt for about 10 minutes, until tender but not browned. Add garlic and thyme, and sauté 3 more minutes.

2. Add celery root, a pinch of salt, and a generous grinding of black pepper.

3. Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the celery root can be easily pierced with a knife.

4. Blend in a powerful blender until very smooth.

5. Add lemon juice and taste for seasoning.


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