The Jewish New Year, known as Rosh Hashanah, is celebrated around the globe each fall. This year the holiday begins at sundown on Friday, September 15 and ends the evening of Sunday, September 17. During the holiday, Jewish families reflect on the past year and welcome the beautiful year to come while enjoying a festive meal derived from ancient traditions. Unique culinary customs vary from region to region and each family’s table will look slightly different! One Rosh Hashanah tradition is apple-solutely 🍎 easy and tasty! We’ll dive into that one in a bit!
Jewish people follow the Lunisolar calendar which is set up quite differently from the Gregorian calendar used throughout the western world. The Chinese calendar is also organized by the Lunisolar system, among other cultures dating back to ancient times. Rosh Hashanah means "head of the year" and occurs on the first and second day of the month called Tishrei. Much like the New Year’s holiday we observe in the United States, Rosh Hashanah is a time for friends, family and lots of festive food! There are many symbolic ingredients and special dishes prepared during the holiday.
It’s customary to indulge in sweeter foods during this time and menus will often exclude sour, tart and spicy flavors. In the nature of Jow, holiday recipes can be quick, easy and fun! Commonly known fruits and vegetables are heavily featured and you may already be familiar with some of the celebratory foods! We’ll highlight a few and introduce you to an easy recipe to try at home!
Symbolic Foods Eaten During Rosh Hashanah
Apples & Honey
For generations, the 2-ingredient tradition of dipping sliced apples into honey has been a fan-favorite way to ring in the New Year. Apples are typically eaten at the start of the holiday, before dinner is served.
There are many theories on why apples became the chosen fruit for this ritual. One theory is that ancient Jews believed apples had healing powers that would lead one to a fruitful new year…sort of like “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” Pairing the holy fruit with golden honey is a flavor explosion we can’t wait for you to try!
What you’ll need:
Your favorite type of apple 🍎 (Did you know there are over 7,000 varieties?!)
Your favorite type of honey 🍯
Pro-tip: choose a few varieties of each and try them all! 🤩
- Core & slice the apple into wedges, as thick or thin as you like.
- Squeeze a bit of honey into a small dish.
- Dip your apple wedges into the sweet honey and enjoy!
It’s as simple as that! We strive to offer you quick, easy and delicious food tips. Once you try this, you may even find yourself snacking on apples dipped in honey year round! If you buy your apples in bulk, check out some more Jow favorites to celebrate the juicy fruit!
The pomegranate is a cherished fruit in Jewish culture and considered one of the “seven species of Israel”. Legend tells us that pomegranates contain 613 seeds which symbolize the 613 commandments of the Jewish Torah. The fruit represents wisdom and knowledge. We learned above that apples and honey are often eaten at the start of the holiday. On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, it’s common to find pomegranate seeds (arils) incorporated throughout the meal. If you’re new to this ancient superfood, check out our blog: How to Eat a Pomegranate for more!
This fluffy, braided loaf of bread is at the center of any Rosh Hashanah table. Challah (pronounced: haa·luh) is a traditional yeasted bread, enriched by eggs. The taste and texture is similar to brioche, but its significance is rooted in Jewish tradition. Straight loaves of Challah are eaten year-round, however on Rosh Hashanah, the bread is baked in a round loaf. The round shape signifies the perpetual cycle of life. Just as a circle has no end, eating Challah is a wish for a year with endless blessings. Apples aren’t the only food used to dip into honey, try dipping a piece of challah as well…your tastebuds will thank us!
In Yiddish, a language that for hundreds of years was spoken by Jews from eastern Europe, the word for carrot is ma’rin which translates to “increase”. Carrots symbolize the hope for increased wealth, merit and prosperity in the year to come. Our Honey-Mustard Chicken & Carrots or Carrot & Ginger Soup are two easy recipes to make this ingredient shine.
The Hebrew word for beets is selek, which is similar to the word “remove”. On Rosh Hashanah, beets are eaten to remove negativity and enemies from the year ahead. Celebrate this ingredient with our Roasted Beets over Yogurt.
What other ingredients or recipes will you find on a Rosh Hashanah dinner table?
- Leeks, Chard, Spinach
- Black-eyed peas
- Saucy brisket
- Roast chicken
- Matzo Ball Soup
- Kasha Varnishkes
- Noodle Kugel
- Apple Honey Cake
Wishing all who celebrate “Shanah tovah” (שנה טובה) or "a good year"!