By Jared Koch
Passover starts tonight at sunset. So, to celebrate the Jews’ exodus from slavery, we’re sharing a few tips for making healthier charoset.
The only sweet dish on the seder plate, charoset (or sometimes haroset) is a mix of fruits and nuts bound together by wine. Eastern European Ashkenazi families typically enjoy a mixture of apples and walnuts, while Sephardic Jews—with roots in the Mediterranean—favor a purée of dried figs, dates, pistachios and aromatic spices.
Charoset symbolizes the mortar created by the Israelites while they were slaves in Egypt. It might be slathered on matzoh with bitter herbs and horseradish or formed into small spheres, depending on a family’s heritage. Either way, it’s passed around the seder table and is an integral part of the Passover feast.
How to Make Healthier Charoset
1. Choose organic fruit.
When selecting fresh fruit, locally-grown organic produce from your local farmers market is ideal. The less distance from field to plate, the more nutrients and the smaller the environmental impact. For dried fruit, look for organic and unsweetened options that are free of sulfur dioxide.
2. Use better sweeteners.
Traditional charoset usually calls for granulated sugar or brown sugar. A better choice? Choose organic, raw honey or coconut sugar, both of which have a lower glycemic load than regular sugar. In other words, you’re less likely to have a sugar-induced energy crash.
3. Buy organic Kosher wine.
Kosher wine has a… not-great reputation. Luckily, there’s a whole new crop of organic Kosher wines on the market today. You can check out this article from Hazon for a few good picks. Or, if you want to take a deep-geek look at kosher wines, read this article from Consciously Kosher.
Chag Sameach Pesach! (Have a happy festival of Passover!) And don’t forget that leftover charoset on matzoh makes a delicious breakfast or snack!