Family – Rhamnaceae
Genus – Ziziphus
Species – Ziziphus jujube
No, not the fruit flavored candy jujubes but the fruit which has been in existence considerably longer.
Do you know this chestnut looking fruit? Not being familiar with the fruit candy of the same name, I knew I had heard this word before and after racking my brain I remembered where.
If you are a fan of the movie “Dirty Dancing” then you may remember Patrick Swayze uttering
“You don’t understand the way it is, I mean for somebody like me. Last month I am eating jujubes to keep alive . . . and this month women are stuffing diamonds in my pocket”.
Not Quite Ripe Jujube Fruit
Also known as the Red Date, Chinese Date, Korean Date, Jujuba and Indian Date the Jujube tree is one of 40 different species in the genus Zizphus.
This small thorny tree has been around since biblical times and thought to have originated in Southern Asia and China where it continues to be a most popular fruit.
It is commonly found in Lebanon, Iran, Korea, Madagascar, India and Nepal to name a few.
As it favors a dry mild climate it is commonly found thriving in the Mediterranean countries, Japan, Australasia and has even made its way across to America where it grows well in Florida, California and the south-western region of the country.
There are 400 cultivars of Jujube known to be in existence today.
Under a Jujube Tree
The Drying Process
Jujube Tree ~
The jujube tree is a small deciduous tree or bush that grows to between 5-10 metres (16-33 ft) in height.
Its leaves are small green and shiny and it has small yellowy-green flowers made up of 5 petals.
Many homes in Asia will have the leaves and flowers for their fresh scent to ward off insects and bugs.
The tree, whilst favoring warm dry climates, has the ability to grow and withstand cooler climates growing in temperatures as low as -15C (5F).
As long as this tree has sufficient water for its fruit it is more than happy and requires little maintenance.
It is one of the few species within the Zizphus genus that has the ability to withstand cold temperatures.
Jujube Fruit ~
The tree is grown for its most unusual fruit.
You could be forgiven thinking it to look like a granny smith apple or a small yellow-green apple.
About the size of a golf ball, jujube fruit varies from light yellow to bright green with a firm skin before being fully ripe when it turns brown to purplish and wrinkly, much like a date.
The more mature the fruit, the sweeter it is.
The fruit has inedible pointy shaped seeds and a flavor all of its own that has been likened to a cross between an apple and caramel or even a fig.
The Chinese Date
Nutritional Benefits ~
This fruit has one of the highest amounts of Vitamin C and has 20 times more than any other citrus fruit. It is rich in calcium, phosphorus and iron with one of the highest amounts of amino acids (18 out of the 24 known ones) in a fruit.
A highly nutritious and healthy fruit, it helps in the formation and maintenance of the immune system, bones, muscle, skin and hair.
The jujube has been used for many medicinal reasons dating back centuries, particularly in China and Korea and now it has caught the attention of the Western world with various researches being conducted in its link to certain health benefits.
Always seek medical advice if pregnant, lactating, are allergy prone or are on medication before introducing a new ingredient into your diet or taking for medicinal purposes.
High in Vitamin C
Health Benefits ~
- Soothes Sore Throats
- Strengthens The Immune System
- Antioxidant Properties
- Wards off Colds and Flu Virus
- Relieves Stress
- Helps Ease Anxiety
- Blood Purifier
- Aids Digestion
- Anti-Ageing Effects on The Skin
- Lowers High Blood Pressure
- Reduces Swelling and Redness
- Treats Wrinkles, Dryness
- Soothes Sunburn, Itchy Skin
- Mild Laxative
- Relieves Diaarhea
- Energy Booster
Sweet & Sticky
Culinary Uses ~
Makes an ideal healthy snack for kids and adults when dried like a date.
Sliced jujubes may be added to salads and even turkey stuffing.
Used in teas and tonics.
Stews, Jams and Syrups may be made.
Substitute raisins or dates with jujubes in muffins, scones and breads.
Use in Chinese chicken soup for a touch of sweetness.
Cultural Traditions ~
In West Bengal and Bangladesh jujube vinegar and jujube juice are popular.
Wine may be made and is called hong zao jiu in China.
Preserved jujubes are stored during winter in China and are used in a wide variety of delicacies.
In Korea a tea is made from jujubes.
The Lebanese enjoy the dried fruit has a snack or accompaniment with dessert at a meal.
In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, fresh ripe fruit is crushed and combined with tamarind, jaggery, red chillies and salt, dried under the sun and used to make the cake Ilanthai Vadai or Regi Vadiyalu.
Cake of Millet and Jujubes, Peking, China, 1915
Have you tried this Jujube Fruit before?
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Author Info ~
Information on the author, her bio and full body of works available @ Suzie HQ
Credit to homesteadbound ~
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