When Jews dip apple slices in honey, as many will for the Jewish High Holidays that begin with Rosh Hashanah on Sept. 24, they do so to usher in the new year with sweetness. Both the fruit and honey are mentioned in the Old Testament; honey cake, apple cake and savory dishes such as chicken with apples are holiday favorites.

With so many kinds of apples and honeys available, we thought the effort could be made even sweeter by complementing their specific flavor attributes. So we asked Rowan Jacobsen, apple grower and author of “Apples of Uncommon Character” (Bloomsbury, 2014), for pairing recommendations — which will work for new year blessings as well as any snacking occasion, along with nuts and cheese.


Pair Newtown Pippin apples . . . (Photo by Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury Publishing)

. . . with apple blossom honey. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

Newtown Pippin/

Albemarle Pippin with apple blossom honey

Acidic, firm and crunchy, this apple with deep Virginia roots goes well with a very light honey. Symbolically and flavorwise, a perfect match.


Pair Cox’s Orange Pippin apples . . . (Photo by Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury Publishing)

. . . with orange blossom honey. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

Cox’s Orange Pippin with
orange blossom honey

There’s a harmony in the citrusy notes of each one. Gala would work well, too.


Pair Roxbury Russet apples . . . (Photo by Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury Publishing)

. . . with tupelo honey. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

Roxbury Russet or Golden Russet with tupelo honey

The apple is a homely greenish brown and about the oldest American variety, dating to the 1600s. Its flesh is hard and dry, with a spice note. (Look for it at farmers markets.) The honey has its own spice note, which some identify as cinnamon and others claim as mint.


Pair Honeycrisp apples . . . (Photo by Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury Publishing)

. . . with wildflower honey. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

Honeycrisp
with wildflower honey

The apple has become an easy favorite for its snappy, uncomplicated sweetness, so choosing a honey whose flavor is complex and all-over-the-place makes sense.


Pair Pink Lady apples . . . (Photo by Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury Publishing)

. . . with avocado honey. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

Pink Lady or SweeTango
with avocado honey

Super-sweet’s the way to go with a honey that’s as bitter as this, for a nice balance.

Got apple questions? Jacobsen will join Wednesday’s Free Range chat at noon: live@washingtonpost.com .