Most people know that Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and that one way we celebrate is by eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of the sweetness we hope to experience in the future. A lesser-known tradition is that of the Shehecheyanu Fruit (sheh-heh-key-yaw-nu)—a new, often strange fruit that is eaten on the second day of Rosh Hashanah—which symbolizes the unknown blessings that await us in the year ahead.
I invite everyone, Jew and non-Jew, to try this tradition for themselves. To me, tasting a new fruit reminds me that this world is full of wonderful surprises still awaiting our discovery. Many of these can be found at gourmet grocery stores or specialty food markets. –Adam Hunter
It’s easy to see how this fruit, popular in Southeast Asia, got its name: The hot pink and green skin kind of looks like a flaming dragon heart. But don’t worry, it won’t burn your tongue. Slice it lengthwise, scoop out the seed-speckled interior like you would an avocado, and serve. I had this on my honeymoon in Thailand—it tastes like a sweet pear.
Another fruit I discovered on my honeymoon. The name means hairy in the Indonesian language, and one blogger describes it as a “crazy hairy tentacle... egg-thing.” You don’t eat the skin. Inside, you’ll find a chewy white center resembling a lychee. It tastes like one too.
The Shehecheyanu Fruit my mother-in-law served at my first Rosh Hashanah meal at her house. The name describes its unusual shape. The entire fruit can be eaten, including the waxy skin—it tastes like a cross between an apple and a lime. For a treat, try some Starfruit Banana Crumble.
Was there a conspiracy to keep this berry out of the U.S.? Some people think so. Nevertheless, the secret is out. This West African red berry tastes a bit sour at first but has a remarkable ability to trick your taste buds. After the berry’s juice coats your tongue, sour foods suddenly taste sweet. I’ve never tried this myself... maybe it’ll be my Shehecheyanu Fruit in the future!
When our Thai tour guide handed us this fruit, my wife and I joked that it must be a Jewish mango... Mangostein, get it? Our Thai tour guide did not. One blogger who left Vietnam as a young girl says this is the fruit she missed most from her childhood. She described it as “an arpeggio of sweet and tart... a demitasse of acacia honey brightened with a squeeze of lime juice... the floral intensity of a white peach combined with the fresh snap of a slightly under-ripe pineapple.” In short, delicious.
Created in the Holy Land, this hybrid “Pomlit”—a cross between a grapefruit and a Pommelo (the breakfast staple’s fatter and sweeter cousin) is supposed to lower bad cholesterol and is an excellent source of antioxidants.
This exotic-sounding fruit isn’t so exotic after all... it grows in the Midwest! A Michigan farmer writing for Grit magazine says “a perfectly ripened pawpaw is reminiscent of a sweet homemade pudding with natural banana flavor, a bit of pineapple juice, and a pinch of vanilla extract thrown into the mix.”
This Caribbean fruit, resembling an apple wearing armor, can often be found in Florida supermarkets. The inside is nothing like an apple—instead, you’ll find a slimy, white custard surrounding large, dark seeds. The trick to eating it is to suck the custard off the seeds, one by one.
How good could a fuzzy, brown, ugly melon taste? Well, according to those who call Cupuacu the “new superfood”, the white, buttery interior reminds one of bananas and chocolate. A common breakfast and dessert food in South America, its pulp is commonly used in body lotions.
Also known as the dragon eye fruit because, as one blogger explains, this Asian fruit looks like an eyeball when the brown skin is peeled off. The flavor? It’s a mix of grape and lychee.
I’m looking forward to the strange fruit that will be on my family’s Rosh Hashanah table this year. What new fruit would you suggest?
L’Shanah Tovah to our Jewish readers, and may every one of you be inscribed for a fruitful new year.
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