The Mysterious Jujube Fruit

Jujubes or Chinese Date

Jujubes or Chinese Date

Fresh jujubes (pronounced joo-joob) are stone fruits about the size of small dates with a crisp texture and mild apple flavor. The taste ranges from mildly sweet-tart to sweet. Under-ripe fruit can taste chalky or floury, but jujubes gradually become sweeter as they mature. Despite their thick skin, the skin is edible, albeit a bit tough. Jujubes have a flavor affinity for almonds, brown sugar, chocolate, coconut, cream cheese, honey, orange, pistachios, and walnuts.

You can eat jujubes fresh out of hand, dried, or preserved in syrup — a favorite treat in Asian cuisine. Jujubes can also be cooked and made into preserves and compotes. Dried jujubes are used like dates — add them to desserts, stuffing, soups, stews. Jujubes are often simmered with spices and fruit and used to make teas and tonics. Used dried jujubes as you would dates or raisins — add them to baked goods like scones or muffins.

Jujubes arrive at our farmers markets in late summer to early fall and are smooth skinned, and greenish-yellow to yellowish-red in color. As jujubes mature, their reddish skin darkens to maroon and then to purplish black and begin to wrinkle and look more like dates, hence the name “red date” or “Chinese date.”

Fresh jujubes are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium.

How to select: Choose jujubes that are fresh and unblemished. It should be the size of a small date and heavy for its size. Mature jujubes will be wrinkled.

How to Store: Jujubes keep well in the refrigerator. Place them in an airtight container.

VIDEO: How to Dehydrate Jujubes

RECIPE: Jujube Tea

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