The theme of sweetness is central to the celebration of Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year). Israelis wish one another Shanah tovah u’metuka (have a good, sweet year) and enjoy a popular holiday treat of apples dipped in honey. This doubly sweet snack is not the only sugary staple on a traditional New Year’s menu. In fact, family and friends will usually sit down to a Rosh HaShanah feast laden with sweet dishes, signifying the desire for a sweet new year.
Sharon Vanek* shared her recipe for a sweet Rosh HaShanah family favorite with us. Served with rice or couscous, Tzimmes (pronounced tsi-mmis) is the perfect vegetable side to compliment a meat dish, says Vanek. While the sweet stew of root vegetables and dried fruit is usually reserved for Rosh HaShanah or Passover, her two children are so fond of the dish that she prepares it throughout the year.
2 lbs (1 kg) baby carrots or 8 medium-sized carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1 cup yellow raisins
1 cup pitted prunes
1 cup dried apple pieces
½ cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
½ cup orange juice (optional)
Place carrots in a pot, cover with water and simmer over medium heat until carrots are semi cooked.
Drain the water and add the raisins, prunes and apple pieces to the pot.
In a bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice.
Pour the mixture over the carrots and fruit.
Bring to a boil on the stovetop and then reduce heat.
Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If desired, add ½ cup of orange juice to keep the dish moist.
*Sharon Vanek serves as the executive director of the California–Israel Chamber of Commerce. She is the wife of the Consul General of Israel to the Northwest, a proud Jewish mother of two and an Israeli who enjoys introducing people to her heritage through the delights of food.
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