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Nut-Free Charoset

I was just asked to bring nut-free charoset to the seders for 20 people. Anyone have any good recipes?

And because I'm sure someone can answer this question as well - considering they are at their best in the fall, how did apples get to play such a prominent part in charoset?

Thanks.

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  1. There's a lot of regional variation in recipes. If I had to guess, apples are cheap and plentiful throughout Europe and the U.S. so the Ashkenaz recipes make use of them. Sephardic recipes include indigenous fruits like dates and raisins.

    I've seen some recipes with coconut, which may add some body if you chop or grate it coarsely.

    1. Probably the best charoset without nuts is the common Sephardic one with dates, cinnamon and wine. It does call for nuts, but it pasty and muddy looking and the absence of the nuts wouldn't be such a big deal. Just looked up charoset in Gil Marks' "Encyclopedia of Jewish Food". As with most of Judaism, no answer is simple and his entry was 2 pages detailing the history (excluding the recipes). One interesting connection he mentions is that Israelite women were supposed to have given birth in "tapuach" orchards and also in Kabbalah a tapuach is a symbol of the divine presence. Nobody really knows what the original tapuach was but it came to be translated as apple. Read his description. Who knew there was so much involved!

      1. We have a son who has a nut allergy. So we just make 2 versions of the same recipe one with nuts and one without. Leaving out the nuts doesn't change anything except remove the nut crunch.

        1. did they specify nuts *and* seeds? i assume the request is allergy-based, so if pumpkin seeds are safe you can sub them for the nuts in any recipe. dry roasted will provide more flavor & crunch than raw...just be sure the ones you buy are labeled KFP.

          1. Apples are the only fruit that could be kept in a root cellar and eaten "fresh" at Passover.

            In Ashkenaz, all other fruits would have had to be dried, candied, or preserved.

            apples were also cheap.

            1 Reply
            1. re: AdinaA

              Nowadays with year-round supplies of nearly everything available pretty much anytime people forget that the apples sold throughout Winter/Spring in the US 20-30 years ago and before were harvested in late Fall and stored. True everywhere apples were grown.

            2. I have never to my knowledge added nuts to my recipe. I just grated apples and added added a bit of wine (or grape juice) and some (alot) of cinnimon. HTH.

              1. Here's a nut free charoset recipe from my file. Originally from Weight Watcher's Magazine April 1992:

                2 small pears, cored and coarsely chopped
                12 dried apricot halves, chopped (I think you could use other dried fruit, prunes for example if you can't find apricots that are kosher for passover)
                1/4 cup raisins
                1 1/2 tsp honey (could be omitted in my opinion)
                1 tsp lemon juice
                1/2 tsp cinnamon
                2 tablespoons red wine (or grape juice)

                Combine everything except the wine or juice in a medium bowl. Once it's all mixed together, stir in the wine or juice. (Recipe says this serves 12, so you may want to add accordingly)

                I have another that requires a food processor:

                30 dates
                20 figs 2 tsp ginger powder
                matzo meal as desired
                dry red wine
                i chili pepper (optional)

                Put everything in a food processor and make into a paste. This is a Yemenite style recipe, so the original includes 4 Tbs sesame seeds. I think you could easily omit for Ashkenaz adaptation.

                I agree with the others. Apples keep very well. Some of our friends with Lithuanian ancestry survive almost totally on potatoes which they use for karpas. Potatoes and other root vegetables are not really spring like if you live in a mild climate, but they were still around if kept through the winter. Living in Berkeley, we celebrate with asparagus and strawberries!!

                1. I got this link from a post at Jewish-Food, it has a lot of nut free charoset recipes.

                  http://brithsholom.net/_pdfs/nutfreec...

                  Betsey

                  1. I just found this blog about charoset. She gives a basic formula then lists possible ingredients. She indicates that nuts/seeds and sweetener are optional.

                    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-k...

                    1. My sister in law has a tradition of making Charoset with apples, shaved chocolate and grape juice for the young ones at the table. Certainly not traditional but a big hit at her house.