Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What is a jujube?

This weekend we learned more about jujubes when we went to Twin Peaks Orchards in Newcastle to demonstrate making hoshigaki as part of the PlacerGrown's yearly Farm and Barn Tour. We have a few jujube trees at the orchard and sell jujubes in the fruit stand, but we haven't felt like we know very much about them. Customers at the fruit stand sometimes say that they remember having jujubes dried in tea, or that they remember them from childhood and are so surprised to see them again. People often ask what they taste like, but it's hard to describe because it's something like a dry apple or pear with other flavors mixed in.

Twin Peaks Orchards grows a lot of jujube (amongst other fruit) and has a flyer out with more information about them. According to their flyer, jujubes are also called "red dates" or "Chinese dates" and are a small tree in the buckthorn family. "The immature fruit is smooth-green, and resembles the consistency and taste of an apple, but as it matures more, it darkens to red to purplish-black and becomes wrinkled, looking like a small date (hence the name Chinese Date)." Jujube contains many vitamins, including a high concentration of vitamin C, and are "one of the world's oldest fruits, used in Chinese medicine for over 4000 years."

At left is a photo of a jujube growing at our orchard.

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