What The Heck Is A Jujube?

Get to know the culinary uses and health benefits of the flavorful Asian fruit.

Description: These grape-to-strawberry-sized fruits plucked from 16- to 40-foot-high deciduous trees no longer lend their juice to Jujubes, the chewy movie-theater candy named after them, but there’s more to their story: The jujube (aka red date, Chinese date, or Korean date) has been cultivated in China for more than 4,000 years. It begins as hard and green, then ripens to a soft, wrinkly red. 

Cuisine Connection: In China and Korea, jujube tea is popular, as is jujube-sweetened tea syrup sold in glass jars. The freshly harvested jujube, as well as the candied dried version, is often eaten as a snack. 

Flavor Profile: The flavor is sweet-tart, apple-like. Jujubes have a crispy texture when under-ripe and a date-like consistency at their most ripe. 

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Juju That Cold: Next time you feel a cold coming on, forget the chicken soup or orange juice and try a jujube. They have 20 times more vitamin C than any citrus fruit, which is why they’ve been used medicinally for millennia in many cultures (especially as a tea for a sore throat). 

Love and Jujubes: In the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain regions, the jujube’s sweet smell is alleged to make teenagers fall in love; as a consequence, boys put the stem of a jujube flower on their hats in an attempt to attract girls.