Did you know that the etrog -- the sweet-smelling symbol of Sukkot -- is the world's oldest citrus fruit? Were you aware that the existence of this fruit, otherwise known as the citron, pre-dates the Roman Empire, and was carried by Jewish settlers to their new homes throughout the Diaspora?
Aliza Green, Philadelphia-based chef, food columnist and cookbook author, will present these tidbits and other savory facts during a multi-sensory Sukkot program on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m., at Or Hadash: A Reconstructionist Congregation, 190 Camp Hill Road in Fort Washington. The program is sponsored by the synagogue and the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia's Kehillah of Bux-Mont.
For this event, Green will bring in varieties of fresh etrogs that developed in different parts of the world: Morocco, Southern Italy, Greece and Yemen. Participants will be able to touch, taste and smell these seasonal treats.
Green will also explain what makes an etrog kosher and talk about the fruits' purported medicinal properties through the ages. For example, Jewish midwives apparently gave the fruit to their clients to ensure an easier delivery.
The chef will also talk about how to use the fruit in culinary creations like etrog liqueur, etrog preserves, pan forte de Siena, a dense dried and candied fruit-and-nut cake, and in a dessert known as Riz à l'Imperatrice -- "The Empress' rice pudding."
Green, whose weekly food columns have appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer and thePhiladelphia Daily News, is the author of eight best-selling cookbooks.
The program is free; however, seating is limited, and reservations are strongly recommended. To hold a space, call Laurie Albert at the Or Hadash office at 215-283-0276 or e-mail the synagogue at: email@example.com .