What is it?
The fruit of a shade tree in the buckthorn family. Although also known as red date, Chinese date or honey date, jujubes are not, in fact, true dates. They have been cultivated for thousands of years in China and are reputed to cleanse the blood and strengthen the body.
Jujube fruits vary from small and round to long and thin. They can be as small as a cherry or larger, like a plum. The thin skin starts green and ripens to red, while the flesh is creamy and white and contains a single hard seed.
Fresh and raw, they're crisp, sweet and slightly tart, with a flavour similar to a dessert apple. Dried, they have a honeyed sweetness.
In addition to eating jujubes fresh, the Chinese also dry, pickle and smoke them. In Europe, dried jujubes became hugely popular as a confection, and the term came to refer to candy or sweets in general. That might explain why the name jujube was given to a type of chewy candy popular in North America.
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