Jujube

Depending on the variety, jujubes may be the size of an olive or of a date and may be round or oblong in shape. They contain an extremely hard and long two-part stone, one part of which contains an oily seed. Their smooth, firm and shiny skin turns from green to maroon as they ripen. The greenish or whitish flesh of jujubes is not particularly juicy. It has a slightly floury texture but is crunchy at the same time. It is also mucilaginous and has a sweet-and-sour taste. Dried jujubes are slightly spongy and sweeter still.

History

Jujube is the fruit of the jujube tree, a Chinese tree that grows in tropical and subtropical climates to heights varying between 8 -10 metres. Also known as Chinese dates, these fruits have been used for their curative properties since ancient times. They are relatively rare in Europe and little known in North America, where they were introduced during the 19th century. Chinese dates are produced in small quantities in China, India and Africa, as well as in the United States and in Mediterranean countries. North Americans are more familiar with the candy called the "jujube," which is made from jujube paste.

Nutritional Value

Fresh jujubes are an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium. They contain small quantities of magnesium, niacin, copper and iron. Dried jujubes provide a richer supply of energy. They are an excellent source of potassium, a good source of magnesium and a source of vitamin C, copper, iron, phosphorus and calcium. They are thought to have expectorant, emollient, calming and diuretic properties.

Buying

When buying jujubes, choose firm, unblemished fruits. Dried jujubes should be heavy and wrinkled. Canned jujubes may be found in gourmet shops.

Storage

Fresh jujubes should be refrigerated. Dried jujubes will keep indefinitely when stored away from heat and light in an airtight container.

Using

Fresh or dried, jujubes may be eaten plain or cooked. They are used like dates (which they can also replace) in desserts, soups, stuffing and stews. Cooked jujubes are used in compotes and jams or made into a paste. This fruit may also be marinated, pressed to make juice or fermented to make an alcoholic beverage.

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Ingredients