Cultural Cuisine: Rosh Hashanah


Skye Conners

A tasty bowl of Tzimmmes prepared to be served.

Skye Connors, Intern Reporter

Sunday, September 25, marks the first day (of two) of Rosh Hashanah (pronounced raash·huh·shaa·nuh), which is the ceremony of the Jewish New Year. It is a time for not only festivities but also introspection–much like the New Year we celebrate on Jan 1. So, of course, there’s food. 

Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of a twelve-day celebration of the Hebrew calendar’s new year. It marks the anniversary of the day upon which God created mankind, and it is also known as the Day of Judgment. After two days of Rosh Hashanah comes the Ten Days of Repentance, the tenth day of which is Yom Kippur. According to Hebrew teachings, God opens the Books of Life and Death on Rosh Hashanah, and he closes them on Yom Kippur. The dozen-day commemoration is a time for penance and atonement for sins committed over the course of the past year and preparation for the year to come. 

Tzimmes (pronounced Tsim-mess) always has a spot on the table during the feast of Rosh Hashanah. It is a dish made of spiced sweet potatoes, carrots, and dried berries, baked with citrusy cinnamon and honey glaze. Tzimmes can be a savory side dish to any entree, particularly poultry, and it is imbued with many health benefits. Sweet potatoes and carrots contain lots of fiber and antioxidants, which promote the growth of good (cancer-killing) bacteria. They also contain beta-carotene, which improves vision and boosts immune health. And, did I mention it’s super easy to cook up? Chop, peel, whisk and you’re done. All it needs is a bit of oven time, and its herbal warmth and comforting texture will no doubt have you coming back for thirds. Get cooking, you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry already! 

Tzimmes for Two


2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 large)

1 pound of medium carrots

⅔ cup of prunes (dried plums)

1 cup of assorted dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, dried cherries, dried apples, dried apricots)

½ cup water

½ cup orange juice

1 tbsp orange zest

2 tbsp honey 

2 tbsp brown sugar 

1 ½ teaspoon of cinnamon 

2 tbsp butter, cubed

¼ cup coarsely chopped (or ground in a food processor) pistachios 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Peel the potatoes (and carrots, too, if desired). 
  3. Cut the potatoes into cubes, and cut the carrots into ½ inch pieces. Cut the prunes in half. 
  4. Mix up the potatoes and carrots in an 8’ x 8’ baking dish. Arrange the prunes and dried fruit on top. 
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk the water, orange juice, orange zest, honey, brown sugar and cinnamon until well mixed. 
  6. Pour the syrup over the potatoes, carrots and dried fruit. Toss to make sure everything is covered. 
  7. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. 
  8. Remove the dish from the oven to stir the mixture. 
  9. Add the cubed butter on top, and return to the oven for 45 minutes, or until tender. Stir every 15 minutes. 
  10. Remove from the oven when the sauce is syrupy and the vegetables are tender to your liking. 
  11. Let cool slightly before serving and top it with the chopped pistachios.

Bon appetit!