Tonight at sunset, Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year – begins. The word Rosh means “head” and Shana means “year” which translates to the “head of the year”. Just like the traditional new year that celebrated on January 1st, this day is also a celebration marked with special foods and customs.
Apples dipped in Honey
One of the most popular customs is to dip apples in honey for a sweet new year.
Challah is traditionally a braided egg bread that’s eaten on Friday night to welcome in the Sabbath. On Rosh Hashana, the challah is formed into a spiral symbolizing the continuity of Creation. Sometimes raisins or honey are added to the challah for extra sweetness.
Many households make a honey cake for the holiday, again to symbolize the sweetness of the new year. Quite often these recipes are handed down from generation to generation (our grandfather was particularly fond of honey cake). Try our Paleo Honey cake recipe for a treat that’s dense and moist and delicious!
On the second night of Rosh Hashana it is customary to eat fruit that’s just coming into season. When we eat this fruit we say a blessing thanking G-d for keeping us alive and bringing us into this season. It also reminds us to be thankful for the fruit of the earth and to appreciate all that we are given.
As Rosh Hashana means “head of the year”, it is customary to prepare a whole fish and eat the head. Fish also is a symbol of fertility and abundance.
A traditional recipe that our family loves is Tsimmes, which is a blend of sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, and prunes. It’s slowly cooked on the stove and makes a hearty dish.
The mighty sweet potato (you might call it a yam, but it’s not a yam) is one of nature’s most perfect foods. It’s full of disease-fighting antioxidants (that bright orange color is a dead give-away!), loaded with feel-full fiber, and naturally super sweet. You can bake sweet potatoes (wrap in foil on bake at 400 F for 30-45 minutes, until soft), roast them (cut into chunks, season and bake at 400F for 25-35 minutes, tossing once during cooking), mash them, or make baked sweet potato fries or chips.
This Tsimmes recipe is usually served during the Jewish High Holidays. Easy, vegan, and gluten free.
- 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into medium chunks
- 1 sweet yellow onion, peeled and cut into small chunks
- 20 dried plums (pitted), cut into quarters
- 1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks in juice
- 1 tbs. cornstarch mixed with 1 tbs. cold water (slurry)
- Place all of the vegetables and fruit (including the pineapple juice) into a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When the liquid starts to boil, turn the heat to low, cover with a lid or foil, and simmer for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft when pierced with a fork.
- When the veggies are soft, remove the lid, increase the heat to High and pour the cornstarch slurry into the liquid in the pan. Toss the veggies and fruit into the liquid that will be thickening up quickly.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl and serve. Great hot, cold, or at room temperature.