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Mar 14, 2008 10:52 AM

Besamim Mix

For my son's Bar Mitzvah, in May, I want to make a large amount of Besamim to give out to our guests, in small bags, on Saturday night. Initially, I thought of using just whole cloves. Then I thought to add dried Hadas (myrtle) leaves, which has a lovely smell. But I don't know where to find them. Anyone have any idea where I might find Hadasim (myrtle)? Any suggestions as to other spices I might add to the mix?

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  1. If you find myrtle, I'd certainly be interested in where. I'm in Manhattan, and have had no luck finding it for some Sardinian recipes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth

      If you don't need much, you can buy a fresh myrtle potted plant, and just strip the leaves off and dry them out. It has such a lovely fragrance. What types of recipes use myrtle?

    2. Hadas: perhaps from a florist?
      Or friends who save and dry the myrtle from their lulavim from Sukkot. We have saved ours for years, and pass leaves around on Saturday evening.

      Cinnamon sticks, which you could smash into smaller pieces and divvy up into the bags.

      Dried orange peel/zest, which you could prepare yourself from all the oranges you eat between now and May.
      My favorite addition is whole cardamon pods. One per little bag should be fine. You should be able to find these at an import grocery, in bulk.

      If I may offer some unsolicited advice: We bought a beautiful, multiple-wick candle from the Safed Candle Co. for our daughter's Bat Mitzvah. We saved it for the occasion, and lit it for the first time that Sat. night at Havdalah. The new candle yielded a very small flame--serviceable, but not dramatic. Moral: use the candle a few weeks ahead of time so that it burns down a bit and you will get the torch-like flame. I am not into appearances, but I was disappointed.
      Enjoy your simcha! p.j.

      1 Reply
      1. re: p.j.

        Thank you for your thoughts p.j. I'm staying away from nutmeg, cinammon and allspice because I don't want to make it too sweet or X-masy. A little orange peel could be good, and I'll definitely try the cardamom, which I don't know at all. And thanks for the candle thought. I had completely forgotten about that. A nice big shul-size torch will be just the right thing.

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        1. Bfarkas- how did your besamim recipe work out? I am now looking into the same thing you looked into several years ago. Any advice you can pass on?

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