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Aug 19, 2010 10:26 AM

New Fruit for Rosh Hashanah

After years of the “same old - same old”, does anyone have any suggestions for a good tasting new fruit for Rosh Hashanah that is relatively easy to find?

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    1. re: DeisCane

      That's funny. I was just going to suggest that. Did a carmelized quince that everyone loved.

      1. re: DeisCane

        I take it nobody's Hungarian? Quince compote was a staple at our house every year.

        1. re: ferret

          I don't think it's universally used by Hungarians. My wife's family lives in Budapest and I've never been served quince in their home.

          In fact, the first year we got quince for RH, my wife didn't know what it was.

          1. re: DeisCane

            I'm not suggesting it's universal, just that one person's common is another's "new." My mother typically made it for Rosh Hashonah, partly for the tradition and partly because it was in season - and my father really liked it. The family was rural, nowhere near the big city, so it may just be regional.

          2. re: ferret

            Yep... good 'ol bisalma compote - definitly a Hungarian favorite. Anu always gave the kids the extra syrup juice - delicious but extremly high in calories!

            1. re: ferret

              Quinces went into the compote for as long as they were available. Compote itself was a staple in our house - there was always some in the fridge, with some seasonal variation in the fruit.
              I've used quinces as a filler/extender in esrog jelly.

            2. re: DeisCane

              Thanks. I've never tried it. how does it taste? Does it have to be cooked?

              1. re: chicago maven

                Yes, it must be cooked. It's ridiculously bitter and hard when raw.

                But cooked in a compote, it really has an autumnal flavor that fits well on the RH table.

                1. re: DeisCane

                  Have a recipe? That sounds very interesting. My family always goes to my brothers' in-laws for RH, and we always bring the same relish tray. I think this would be a nice change or just a good complement.

                  1. re: Fibber McGee

                    Never made it but if you add some cloves and cinnamon, this one seems accurate to my memory from a taste perspective:


            3. any chinese food store w/ fresh produce, kind of like a round pineapple. Beware, it starts to stink 10 min after opening.

              6 Replies
              1. re: vallevin

                "Stink" is hardly a strong enough word; we had to take ours outside immediately, the smell was so bad. One guest had enough courage to try it, but it went right into the garbage after that. I couldn't possibly imagine making a shechiyanu on it again.

                1. re: queenscook

                  In Singapore there are signs on all elevators and on public transport forbidding durians. They're sold at outdoor fruit stands. The experience of eating durian has been described as like eating a delicious sherbet in an outhouse. Personally I thought it tasted OK but not that great.

                  I didn't know they were shipped to America. I wonder how the ship crew stands the smell.

                  1. re: zsero

                    It doesn't stink until it's opened . . . in my experience, at least

                    1. re: queenscook

                      Beware that it is not really a Chinese food. It actually belongs to South East Asia...Malasya, Brunei, Thailand... Just as we don't want to stereotype Kosher food, let's not group all far east foods because they are very different. I can't use Durian for Rosh Hashana because it is found comonly in Fresh Markets here and I've had it already this year a few times :)

                      1. re: mrotmd

                        Then there's probably something common in the USA and Europe that's exotic to you. On my first Rosh Hashana in the USA, the people who invited me for the second night had two fruits; the traditional pomegranate, and something that was then new and exotic to Americans: chinese gooseberry (aka kiwi fruit). This was the first time they'd ever had a "kiwi", as they called it, while to me it was commonplace, though the first I'd had that season. But I'd never seen a pomegranate, which to them was something one has every year.

                2. re: vallevin

                  If you're have the seudah out on the deck, then maybe. The Spouse is only allowed to have durian outside the house, never in. And isn't there something about not saying a bracha when there's that particular smell around? Makes it hard to say the shehechiyanu then. :-)

                3. We tried Monstera Deliciosa one year but you have to be careful. Looks like a cucumber with corn kernels. When it is ripe, the kernels start lifting off leaving the fruit exposed. Cut the fruit off the core. Taste is similar to a pineapple maybe mixed with kiwi. Certainly was unusual and definitely new. Chag Sameach. We have done Dragon fruit as well. A trip to an Asian market before Yom Tov always seems to yield a surprise.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: mommysmazal

                    When I bought the Monstera Deliciosa one year, I asked in the store, "How will I know when it's ready?" He just said, "Don't worry, you'll know." I had no idea what he meant--until the kernels started flying off! As for the Dragonfruit, it's pretty, but I found it had no flavor at all. Maybe I got a bad one?

                    1. re: queenscook


                      I spent $11 on a single dragonfruit here in Teaneck....and it was indeed tasteless

                      Please don't disparage the durian, if eaten quickly it does taste like a custardy pineapple.

                      1. re: vallevin

                        Dragonfruit is really quite surprisingly bland, especially when you consider the crayon-pink exterior. I've eaten plenty of them where they're grown, and it's not just a side effect of their being shipped a long way, either.
                        Fun fruit I ate while in that neighborhood (although I don't know if you can get any of them locally): rambutans, custard apples (really fabulous), plenty of litchis, and mangosteens.

                        1. re: GilaB

                          Mangosteens are best eaten wearing clothes that you don't mind getting stained with indelible purple. Other than that, mangosteens, lychees, and rambutan all seem to taste about the same. They look much the same inside too. And durian looks like that too, only bigger.

                          Dragon fruit is a cactus fruit, like sabra, and it basically tastes like water. I guess the texture is the big deal.

                          1. re: zsero

                            I like sabras, but find dragon fruit too bland. It makes sense that you find them similar, because dragon fruits grow on a very cactus-y tree; I'd bet they're related.

                            Rambutans and litchis are pretty closely related, and I find the tastes similar although certainly not the same. Mangosteens taste very different to me.

                            1. re: GilaB

                              Longans can be found at the Asian market, too. Similar to lychees. My problem is that these are all regular fruits at our house. The quince would be something new if I could find it.

                              1. re: GilaB

                                I was just thinking of sabras, which I know as prickly pears. I used to find them at Mexican markets.

                    2. Not so exotic, but I'm seeing them in the stores - currants (both red and white).

                      1. I was reminded today (by a picture I saw on a recipe site) of kumquats. That's another new fruit relatively easy to find.

                        Remember, in order to say the shehechiyanu on the new fruit for Rosh Hashana, it just has to be something you haven't had yet this season, not something you've never had in your life, so there's really lots to choose from for many people.

                        BIG CAVEAT: I'm not an expert on the halacha, so I may be greatly misstating here, and I'm sure there are many specifics to be aware of, for those who are very careful about such things, so don't go just by what I'm saying.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: queenscook

                          That's how I understand the halacha as well.

                          1. re: queenscook

                            You're right. It must be something that's only available seasonally, and that you haven't yet had this season. Shehecheyanu is not just said on Rosh Hashana but every time you eat a seasonal fruit for the first time that season.

                            1. re: zsero

                              And of course this is Chowhound and we're all into food and all that, but from a strict observance standpoint, a new fruit is not necessary at all. First of all, the new fruit is only there as a fall-back because according to one opinion, the two days of RH are really just one long day, so to justify the saying of "shehecheyanu" on the second night, we have a new fruit present so we can say it on that. However, we can also say it on a new significant garment. And if we happen not to have a new fruit or a new garment, we STILL say it, because the halacha is that we do say it, since most opinions hold that RH is, in fact, a two day holiday.

                              Don't get me wrong, I still always try to have a new fruit around, especially for the fun and interest factor, but no one here should think it's a do-or-die thing. It's getting harder to find a "new fruit," partially because there's so much less seasonality with fruit routinely being shipped from half a world away these days, and partially because many formerly "exotic" fruits are now so common. Years ago, you were lucky if you EVER saw a pomegranate (here in NY, anyway), let alone were able to find one in time for RH; now that they have been dubbed one of the superfoods of the decade, they're certainly no longer rare or unusual. Ditto for so many others (starfruits come to mind).

                              1. re: queenscook

                                Thanks again to all that replied. Where else but on kosher Chowhound can you get advice on food and divrei torah at the same time?!

                                1. re: queenscook

                                  Pomegranetes have been readily available in any fruit store for at least 35-40 years because i remember my parents cutting it open for me on RH many years ago!

                                  1. re: 4greatkds

                                    Are you speaking of ONLY at RH when storekeepers/managers knew to get them for the holiday or at other times of the year? (Presuming you lived in a Jewish area where the fruit stores knew to get them at RH time.) They are a wintertime fruit; did you ever see them in the winter 35-40 years ago?