Ask Karen: Jewish New Year Foods

Frieda's Specialty Produce - Ask Karen

Karen Caplan, President & CEO of Frieda’s, is also an enthusiastic home cook and 90% vegan foodie.

Question: I saw a beautiful exotic fruit display at my grocery store with a sign that it is a Jewish New Year promotion.  What’s that all about?

Much of Jewish holiday celebration is all about the symbolism.  During Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the Jewish New Year which begins at sundown on September 4, it is customary to try a new fruit in the “new year.”

Traditionally, the new fruit is defined as one you have not yet tasted since its latest season began.  But nowadays, “new fruit” could be a fruit you have never tried before, period.  Specialty and very seasonal fruits like Dragon Fruit, Cherimoya, and Asian Pear are all coming into season this time of year.  These make for great celebratory “new fruit”.

Personally, I think we all should try a new fruit every season…or even every month!

And why is there honey displayed next to the apples?

It is a tradition to eat sweet foods at Jewish New Year, and eating a piece of apple dipped in honey symbolizes our hopes to have a sweet year, full of blessings and abundance.

Also dipped in honey is challah, a special braided egg bread.  Its round shape symbolizes the cycle of another year beginning anew.

What about dinner? Do you have a special menu for Jewish New Year?

That depends on your family tradition.  Some would celebrate with traditional dishes like couscous with dried fruit, roasted leeks, braised brisket, or lamb roast.

My family? We celebrate by going out to lunch with several other Jewish families following Temple services on Rosh Hashanah morning.

Got a question for Karen about food and produce? Email us! Want more? Sign up today to receive Club Frieda e-newsletter to get more tips, recipes, and inspirations.