The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word jujube is those sticky candy drops I used to enjoy back in the day.
However, they are not real jujubes. Jujubes are actually stone fruits. Normally, they plum-sized and resemble dates when they are fully mature.
Jujubes originated from China about 7,000 years ago hence the nickname Chinese date. Currently, it is grown all over the world.
If you have never interacted with jujube, you are probably wondering what it tastes like. Worry not, this article will answer all the questions you have. We will discuss everything you need to know about jujube. Let’s dive in.
What do they taste like?
Ripe jujubes are usually yellow-green or red in color. They usually have a slightly sweet and tart flavor that is very similar to the flavor of apples.
Unripe jujubes are green in color with a chalk-like texture. They are not sweet like the ripe jujubes so I suggest waiting until they are ripe before eating them.
Jujube fruits have a crisp texture and are also somewhat spongy. When dried, jujubes have a dense texture similar to that of dates and are very sweet.
Contrary to most people’s expectations, jujubes lack the caramel flavor that is distinct in dates. However, they have a woody and musky aroma.
The skin of the jujube fruit is very thin and it bruises easily.
One thing I love about jujubes is that the skin is edible and you do not have to remove it before eating it. However, there are a few varieties that have thick skin and although it is edible, I advise peeling it first.
Since jujubes are stone fruit, they have a stone in the middle which is not edible. The stone itself has two seeds in it that are also not edible. Always discard them.
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Where to buy them
You can buy jujubes at farmers’ markets, Asian grocery stores, or supermarkets.
There are also a few online vendors that stock them, so you should not have any problem getting your hands on them.
Choosing the best jujubes
The only way to enjoy jujubes is to choose the best ones when you are buying them. You should always choose the ones that are healthy-looking and firm.
Avoid those that have blemished skin. The skin of the best jujubes should be smooth with no scars or cracks.
When buying, pick up the fruit and feel its weight. The best ones usually feel heavier than they look.
How to eat jujube
Since jujubes are not too common in the United States, I’ll make your work easier by telling you how you should eat them.
You can eat jujube out of hand, whether fresh or dried. When dried, they have a chewy texture, just like dates. They make for a nutritious snack.
You should know that dried jujubes have a higher sugar content compared to fresh ones. Therefore, limit the amount that you eat if you are trying to watch your sugar intake.
There is no need to peel jujube before eating since the skin is edible but always wash them thoroughly to get rid of any dirt or germs. Additionally, never eat the stone or seeds found inside the fruit.
You’ll be glad to know that jujubes have several culinary uses. In cooking, they are used the same way that dates are used.
Jujubes are a great addition to both savory and sweet dishes. You can add them to soups, casseroles, and even stuffing for that subtle hint of sweet flavor.
In baking, you can add them to cakes, scones, and muffins the same way you add currants. You can use jujubes to make compotes and jams. You can even use them to flavor your tea.
If you use dried jujubes in your recipe, I suggest you soak them in water for a few minutes. They will give you better results.
How to store jujube
You can store ripe jujubes at room temperature for approximately five days. Just place them inside an airtight container and you are good to go.
Dried jujubes should always be stored inside a refrigerator. Just like the fresh ones, you need to store them in an airtight container first. They will last for 10-12 months when stored properly.
Jujubes are amazing, but you may need to use a substitute when you do not have any on hand. Luckily, there are a few suitable substitutes that you can use.
Dried apples are the best jujube substitutes. The only downside is that the texture is softer compared to that of jujube, but the flavor profile is pretty much the same.
Dates and prunes are also suitable substitutes. They have a texture that is almost the same as that of jujube and the flavors are similar in a way.
If you do not have dried apples, dates, or prunes, you can use currants or raisins in a pinch. They won’t give you the same results as jujube, but you can use them when you have no other option.
Interesting facts about jujube
- The jujube tree grows up to about 35 meters tall.
- There are approximately 400 varieties of jujube and most of them have thorns that are spikey.
- Some farmers produce vinegar from jujube fruits. In Australia, they are used to make beer.
- Some manufacturers make candy from jujube paste and they taste amazing.
- Jujubes thrive in both hot and cold climates. They are mostly grown in China, Africa, India, Southern Europe, the United States, and the Mediterranean.
Although it originated in China, jujube has gained popularity throughout the world. It is eaten either fresh or dried and is also used in several recipes.
Most people that have never tasted it always wonder what jujube tastes like. The answer is quite simple.
It has a sweet-tart flavor that is very similar to that of apples. When fresh, it has a crisp texture and when dried it has a chewy texture.
If you have never tasted jujube this is your cure to try them today.