Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Machane Yehuda Shuk, Jerusalem

Some time ago there was an article in the Jerusalem Post that compared the Shuk HaCarmel in Tel-Aviv, to the Machane Yehuda Shuk in Jerusalem.

I've been to both Shuks [markets] several times during the course of the year, and I gotta tell you, (with apologies to my Tel-Aviv friends) Machane Yehuda wins every time. It's bigger, cleaner and just seems to be more comfortable to shop in.

But both shuks are a joy. The shuk is a place where all your senses come alive. The sights and sounds are dizzying. Splashes of color are everywhere and the cries of the merchants to come sample their wares greet you as you enter. And the smells....there is a certain spice that engulfs me whenever I enter the shuk.

I took some pictures at the shuk. I wanted to take so many more. I wanted to take pictures of people. Of the man slumped over his bags laden with food for the upcoming holidays. He looked so dejected about his burden. I wanted to photograph the old sefardic woman haggling with the vendor over the price of a fish, as the object of their negotiations breathed its last. I wanted to take pictures of the chassidim and the Arabs and the children. But I find that I am nervous about photographing people. I don't want to offend.

So what I offer you here is the bounty of the shuk, in all its glorious color:

These are called חבושים(havushim) in Hebrew. I had never seen them before, so they would make a perfect fruit for the New Year blessing, but you have to cook them, and well, I have enough to cook. I looked it up and they are translated as "quince". Anyone know what to do with them?

Jerusalem artichokes. Don't know what to do with these either.

These guys never stood a chance.

"Where's the beef?"

These are olives. They were all over the shuk. Do that many people still make their own olives?


Jars of honey everywhere.

Isn't it a bit early for sufganiyot [jelly donuts]?

And of course, I can't end this post without that holiday favorite, the pomegranate, or רימון[rimon]. This is a luscious fruit that is a tradition amongst many families in their New Year celebrations. Leora gives us more details about this astonishing fruit.

Hmmm...where have you all been shopping for the upcoming Yom Tov?


Leora said...

I love it! What a yummy post!

Chavushim are quince. I think you can just eat them. I think I have used them for new fruit on R"H, in the past. Try to Google "quince recipe" for better ideas.

Love mangoes. My father once cooked them with chicken. It was, um ... better to just eat 'em straight.

Jerusalem Artichoke recipes, such as 'JA and Ham eggroll'. oh, yeah, that one's useful.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for asking, I've been to Brach's, gourmet glatt, and stop and shop on burnside avenue. none of these places have half the selection that you seem to have. Happy shopping and cooking of course.


Unknown said...

Baila -- Jerusalem artichokes are a wonderful root vegetable/starch! I have several really lovely recipes if you are interested. We LOVE them. When properly prepared their consistency is a lovely soft, buttery, yukon-potato mouth feel.... They are fantastic stewed in crushed tomatoes and fresh herbs.....YUM!

rutimizrachi said...

Gorgeous photos, Baila! And your essay was enticingly written. I keep meaning to make an afternoon of the shuk, without kids, and without time-pressure. Thanks for reminding me!

Also, your descriptions of the people you thoughtfully did not photograph made pictures in my mind. Nice job.

mother in israel said...

Sorry Leora, quinces must be cooked. Prick them and cook in the microwave until they are soft enough to peel (a minute for one, and say an extra half minute for each additional one), then core, peel, slice and season like baked apples. Put them back in the microwave and cook till soft. I have a recipe for quince pomegranate relish, also made in the microwave.

mother in israel said...

I asked a Yemenite woman if I could photograph her packing her groceries, and she said no. So perhaps you are right to be sensitive (unlike boorish me).

Baila said...


The guy in the shuk answered "Mah pitom???" (sort of meaning, "are you nuts?") when I asked if you eat them like an apple.


Gourmet Glatt is the "shuk" of Cedarhurst. Except you won't find old sefardic women haggling over a fish as it is wriggling and dying.


I would love some recipes. I'll e-mail you.


Go now! This is a great time of year to be at the shuk. But if you're going to do some serious shopping, remember to take a granny cart with you.


Yep, just like the guy in the shuk said. Today's Jerusalem Post magazine ironically had a couple of quince recipes--maybe I will try it.

Also, do you always ask permission to photograph people? What do you say to them?

rutimizrachi said...

Puh-LEEZE! Now that I'm a granny, we call it an agalah. (Besides, it is fun to confuse people, since baby carriages are also called agalot. Double-takes can be so amusing.)

mother in israel said...

I don't photograph people that often but I just ask them if it's okay. Another woman was happy to model for me that day, but I don't know if I will put up the pic. I don't explain about my blog unless they ask.

Mrs. S. said...

What beautiful pictures!

Isn't it a bit early for sufganiyot [jelly donuts]?
Our makolet starts carrying them immediately after Succot. I'm always curious if anyone actually buys them that early.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is an awesome post. Thank you for showing us Israel's beautiful bounty. I didn't know that Jerusalem artichokes weren't the same as regular artichokes!

I've been at the same stores as NW. Not as splendid as your photos...

Did you find any cool recipes?

Commenter Abbi said...

I make a delicious Bucharin Chicken-quince pilaf from one of Gil Marks' Jewish cookbooks. If you want the recipe,I'll email it to you.

Baila said...

Mrs. S,

If you notice, there are 3 sufganiyot missing in the picture, so SOMEONE is eating them!


I don't have your e-mail, I'd love that recipe. Can you send it?

Leora said...

Sorry Leora, quinces must be cooked.
Oh, maybe that's why none of us liked the quince.

the sabra said...

chavushim!? dai! some good friends call me chavush...neva realized. ha! (chavush from chava)

and welcome. (that was for me. to your blog)

A Living Nadneyda said...

Beautiful photo essay... reminds me of happy times spent in the shuk, when we used to live in J-m. Now I'm hardly there, and I'll have to be content with photos.

The quince definitely must be cooked. I'd never heard about the microwave, but I understand that when boiled they change color and it takes hours. Then you make them into jam.

Happy eating!

A Living Nadneyda said...

Sorry, I forgot to add, for those who are unfamiliar - the yellow dates need to be frozen for at least two days before they will ripen - otherwise they just aren't sweet. Why? No idea... maybe they're really supposed to be part of the winter harvest.

Baila said...

Welcome, Sabra! It's always nice to get new visitors.


Thanks for the info on quinces. I don't think I'll be able to make jam this year.

Shanna Tova to all.

mother in israel said...

I don't know about jam, but you don't have to cook quince for hours for it to be edible.
As for dates, palms don't grow in climates that get much below freezing. And I don't know how people would have frozen them in ancient times, in this climate, so I suspect there must be another way to soften them.

mother in israel said...

Sorry, ALN, I misunderstood your comment. The yellow dates are not yet ripe. According to this some enjoy them that way:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures. You can make quince into a sort of jelly/fruit leather. Jerusalem artichokes are great roasted in the oven with a little bit of oil - they puff up and go crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. they also make a good soup.