Happy Hanukkah and Seedless Lemons

This past weekend, I had 30 family members over for our annual Hanukkah Dinner. I always serve homemade latkes (potato pancakes) with applesauce and sour cream as part of the meal. In addition to the latkes, I like to make the applesauce from scratch.

I have found that homemade applesauce is very easy to make. Actually, one of my favorite cookbook authors, and personal friend, is Joan Nathan. Her cookbook, Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook, is my “go-to” reference guide for preparing Hanukkah dinner.

As I began to make her Homemade Applesauce Recipe, I grabbed a couple of lemons out of my refrigerator to add to the pot.

Darn – I had to pick out the seeds.

Then I had an Aha! moment. I realized exactly why Seedless Lemons were invented…for the chef and home cook. You don’t have to stop and remove the seeds before squeezing the juice into a recipe.

Have you heard of Seedless Lemons? They’ve been around for a few years and more and more growers have planted them, so you will probably be seeing them in your local produce department. I predict they will be the “new citrus fruit” this season.

Here is a little known anecdote about them. One of our California State Universities, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, has a very active and world-renowned agriculture business department. Each year, students in the ag-business program participate in the NAMA (National Agri-Marketing Association) competition. Dozens of teams from various ag schools around the country compete each spring by developing and presenting a marketing plan to a stiff panel of judges from the business world.

This past spring, the Cal-Poly NAMA Team submitted a business plan for Seedless Lemons. Actually, they won the national competition (for the 8th time in 22 years)! We are so proud of the team – you can read about the story here.

Interestingly, it was about 30 years ago that this same NAMA team from Cal Poly collaborated with Frieda’s Specialty Produce to put together a marketing plan for a then little-known product: Oriental Stir-Fry Vegetables. And guess what? They won the national competition that year as well, and the product became one of our best-selling produce items.

I will be looking for Seedless Lemons at my local store, as I know it will save me time in the kitchen. They will be in season for about 4 to 5 months.

Tonight, like Jewish families around the world, my family and I will be lighting the Hanukkah candles to commemorate the Festival of Lights. We will do so for eight nights, adding an additional candle each night, until our Menorah (candelabra) is completely filled eight days from now.

We wish you a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, a Happy Kwanzaa and a Healthy New Year!

Most importantly, we wish you a year of Peace.

Karen

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