by Adam Grobman
Rosh Hashanah – a time for well-wishes, reflection, and of course, apples and honey to symbolize a sweet new year.
Apples are a delicious and healthy snack throughout the entire year, but are especially popular around the High Holiday season, when the fall harvest often brings a bounty to local orchards and supermarkets.
So, with more than 7,500 apple varieties to choose from throughout the world, how can those looking to celebrate the Jewish New Year know how to get the most out of their snack?
“The thing to pay attention to is the crunch,” says Sandy Cohen of Cohen Produce Marketing, a local shipper, broker, and exporter of fresh fruits and vegetables. “Is it firm and does it ‘crack’ when you bite into it? That’s a good apple.”
Aside from the sound, Sandy says that choosing the right apple is a matter of preference in the flavor. “Like chocolate and vanilla,” he says. “Some people like either one.”
This year, Rosh Hashanah is observed from September 18 – 20, early in the apple season. While some of the newer varieties won’t be harvested until later in the Fall, there are still plenty of popular choices to look for while apple picking and shopping.
“The local apples that will be available around the High Holidays are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Gala, and Honeycrisp.” Sandy says, noting that the last two are the most popular these days. “Honeycrisp and Gala are the two best apples to try at this time in the season.”
As for personal taste, Sandy is partial to Honeycrisp and a newer variety called WildTwist. “It’s a cross between a Honeycrisp and a Pink Lady,” he says. The apple was developed in Lancaster, PA and was featured at past Edward S. Finkelstein Harrisburg Jewish Film Festivals under the name Sweet Cheeks. Expect to see WildTwist in stores a couple weeks after Chanukah, when it will emerge after a long curing season to sweeten the winter.
Finally, Sandy recommends that you serve apples cold. “Lots of people have a big bowl of apples sitting on the table, and they wonder why they’re soft when they get to them,” he says. “If you want it to be crunchy, put it in the refrigerator.”