Charoset (charoses or haroset) is a sweet, dark-colored concoction that is made from fruits and nuts and is served at the time of the Passover Seder. The dish is extremely popular with the children and is eaten during the meal, often by spreading over the matzah. There is a special significance of the color and texture of the charoset. It symbolizes the mortar with which the Hebrew ancestors used to construct the pyramids in Egypt. With this article, we will help you explore all about the charoset, aka haroset, which is consumed during Pesach.
Passover Holiday Charoset
During a traditional Passover Seder meal, charoset and maror (bitter herbs) are usually taken together. There is a definite way and manner of having the charoset, as prescribed in the Holy Haggadah. In fact, the Hagaddah also mentions the exact amount or quantity that should be taken during the meal. People should dip the maror into the charoset and then shake off the excess charoset, before consuming the maror. This action has a specific significance. It symbolizes how hard the Hebrew ancestors toiled and worked in ancient Egypt, combining a food that brings tears to the eyes (the maror) with one that resembles the mortar used to build Egyptian cities and storehouses (the charoset). Thus, it is seen that the rationale behind using the charoset in the meal is to allay the bitterness of the maror.
Charoset also shows the change in the pattern of cooking of the Jews, due to the emigration of people from Mediterranean countries to the eastern zone of Europe and also based on the availability of materials in different areas. Among the vegetables used as maror, the most common ones are romaine lettuce, horseradish, endive, green onions, curly parsley and dandelion. The preparation of the charoset varies from place to place. A majority of the American Jews make use of apples, cinnamon, almonds, ginger and wine. Apart from this, they also combine a variety of nuts like chestnuts, pine nuts and walnuts with apricots, dates, raisins, coconuts and bananas, to prepare the mixture. The Jews from the island of Rhodes, on the other hand, make the charoset from an assortment of walnuts, sweet wine, ginger and dates.
The Jews from Greece add raisins whereas, those from the land of Turkey, include an orange. Those from Yemen use chopped dates, figs, coriander and even chili pepper. Egyptians make the concoction from a mixture of dates, raisins, nuts and sugar, without the addition of ginger or wine. The variety of charoset made by the Jews of Venice is a mixture of chestnut paste and apricots. However, the typical Israeli version of the charoset consists of sesame seeds, apples, peanuts, bananas, pignolia nuts, dates, matzo meal and red wine. Apart from this, different families add their own unique ingredients, in addition to the common basic materials, which reflect the local culture of the place in which they reside. Some families even make large quantities of charoset, to be consumed for breakfast, lunch and snacks all throughout Passover.