As much as I love learning about other cultures and religions, I am constantly finding myself ignorant of their customs and norms. It took a cancelled medical appointment to remind me that the first day of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) was Wednesday-Friday this year, meaning that no work would be done. Of course, after figuring that out, I couldn't wait to create something to add the trademark foods to our table at home!
I knew that apples and honey were traditional celebration foods for this significant event, but I had no idea that one of the (still-hot) superfoods was too! Apparently pomegranates are considered the ?new fruit? of the year and as such are traditionally eaten on the second night of Rosh Hashanah. The fruit supposedly contains 613 seeds, correlating with the Torah's commandments, as well - so it's a symbol of devotion too!
Now, I find whole pomegranates a hassle, not to mention expensive for the end result! Luckily, kosher pomegranate juice is readily available, and this week I found it on sale too (likely due to the holiday). I had bookmarked a hot pepper and cranberry jelly recipe ages ago from Jill's Test Kitchen to use up some of our glut of chiles in the backyard and thought that using pomegranate juice would be not only delicious and just as healthy, but a nod to the occasion too. I was able to reduce the total added sugar by using no-sugar-needed pectin and a touch of stevia, and besides, the pomegranate juice is sweet on its own. With the white wine vinegar and peppers, this isn't strictly a "sweet" preserve, but it strikes a balance that to me is even better. I can only imagine the possibilities: dolloped on crackers with cream cheese (or mixed into cream cheese!), making decadent grilled cheeses, mix into turkey or chicken burgers and of course glazing things like tofu, salmon, pork chops or chicken breast!
Do you have any traditions or customs that ring in the New Year, whenever it falls?
Hot Pepper Pomegranate Jelly
Makes 3 cups, 24 (2-tbsp) servings1 large sweet red pepper, minced
2 hot cherry (or jalapeño) peppers, seeded and minced
2 Thai chiles, seeded and minced
¼ cup water
? cup aged white wine vinegar
¾ cup 100% pomegranate juice
1 ½ cups sugar
2 (1g) packets stevia (I used Pyure) or 1 tbsp more sugar
1 pkg no-sugar needed pectin