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Celebrating the Jewish New Year…in the produce department

Next week, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts at sundown on September 4, the earliest it’s been since 1899. Read about why here.

When I was growing up, I always thought of Rosh Hashanah as a day I got to miss school and go to temple, as it is tradition to go to temple services both on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, and the following morning. But, as I grew older, I realized there is so much more to the holiday than going to temple.

As it turns out, one of the traditions of Rosh Hashanah is to try a “new fruit” for the New Year, meaning a fruit that has just come into season, or one you have never tried before.

Another tradition is to dip fresh apple slices in honey, to symbolize the sweetness of the New Year, which might explain why you see displays in the grocery store of honey and apples around this time of year. In biblical times, honey represented good living and wealth. The Land of Israel is often called the land of “milk and honey.”

Even if you aren’t Jewish, enjoy some of these seasonal fruits as a way to celebrate the New Year, or because fall is right around the corner.

Cherimoyas – At this time of year, they are coming from Chile. When ripe, they get soft like a peach, and have a white, grainy flesh. Mark Twain described them as “deliciousness itself.”

Passion Fruit – Shaped like a dark purple egg, they are ripe when wrinkled. Did you know they are the secret ingredient in Hawaiian Punch? The flesh inside is a yellow-green color, with a gooey texture, and has a sweet-tart flavor.

Papayas – They come in many varieties and sizes. The most popular are pink-fleshed and taste like a peach. Papayas are great for soothing stomach aches!

Dragon Fruit – Currently, they are coming to us from California and Vietnam! They are bright pink on the outside, and white with seeds, like a kiwi, on the inside. Unfortunately, they do not have a strong flavor and are quite mild and bland. But, they have some good health qualities.

Kiwifruit – I just had to include them since our company is credited with introducing them to America back in 1962. If you purchase them when they are hard, put them in a brown paper bag with a banana in a warm place and let them soften until they are soft like a peach. Kiwis are one of my favorites!

Frieda’s also sells Baby Kiwi!

We have many more unusual “new” fruits, which you can find here on our website.

If you become too full from new fruits, don’t worry…the next Jewish Holiday, Yom Kippur, requires you to fast for a full day.

L’Shanah Tova (for a good year),


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