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What Does A Jujube Taste Like?

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Dried jujube fruits

The jujube is a small stone fruit that is cherry to plum-sized and looks a lot like a date once matured. It is native to China and has been grown there for at least 7000 years; however, the tree is hardy and can be grown in many parts of the world. If you are new to this fruit, you may be wondering what does a jujube taste like? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the fruit’s flavor, texture, uses in the kitchen, and much more.

What do jujubes taste like?

Jujubes are best eaten when they are somewhere between yellow-green and red. During this stage, they have a mild, sweet flavor with a slightly tart undertone. Unripe jujubes have a floury, chalk-like texture and lack sweetness, so it is best to avoid eating them prematurely.

The texture of a jujube is crisp like an apple, although it also has a spongy quality. Once the fruit has dried, it becomes sweet and dry and has a dense texture similar to a date. However, it doesn’t have a dominant caramel flavor which you get from dates. The fruit has an aroma that is musky and woody.

The fresh jujube’s skin is usually smooth, thin and bruises easily. It is perfectly edible and doesn’t need to be removed before you eat one. Some varieties have thicker skin which is edible, but tough; peeling them is advisable. At the center of the fruit lies an inedible stone which usually contains two seeds.

Flavor partnering ideas

  • orange
  • chocolate
  • nuts
  • honey
  • coconut
  • pandan
  • cheese

Culinary uses

The jujube is delicious eaten out of hand and this is a popular, simple option for eating. In cooking, the jujube can be used in the same way as a date, in sweet and savory dishes. Toss them into soups, casseroles, a Moroccan tajine, or add them to stuffing for a hint of sweet flavor. In baking, they are perfect for adding to scones, muffins, and cakes – treat them like you would currants. Jujubes also make great jams, compotes, and even add refreshing flavor to tea.

The jujube can be eaten fresh, preserved in syrup, candied, cooked, or dried. If you are using dried jujubes it is best to soak them in water before using in recipes.

How to choose a jujube

When choosing fresh jujubes, look for healthy-looking, firm fruit that have unblemished skin. If possible, pick up the fruit and test its weight; it should feel heavy for its size. A good quality dried jujube should have smooth, wrinkled skin with no cracks or scars.

A jujube tree with ripe fruit
Red skin is a sign the fruit is ready to eat.

Useful substitutes

The best option for replacing jujubes is to use an equal amount of dried apple. It has a similar flavor although the texture will be softer. If you want to replicate the texture, then the best options are dried prunes or dates. Raisins or currants could be used in a pinch.

Storage

Ripe jujubes can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days. Dried jujubes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 6-12 months or frozen for up to 18 months.

Health benefits

Jujubes are a healthy snacking option and are high in vitamin C, which offers immune-boosting properties and antioxidants. They are also high in fiber and minerals like potassium. The fresh fruit is low in calories; however, the dried version has much higher levels of sugar and calories so they should be eaten in moderation.

Related articles:
What do breadfruits taste like?
What do loquats taste of?

Fast facts

  • The jujube is a drupe that grows on a tree reaching up to 35 feet in height. There are around 400 cultivars and some have menacing thorns that are very spikey.
  • Their botanical name is Ziziphus jujube and they are also known as Chinese dates or red dates.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers had difficulty distributing their crops and began producing vinegar from the produce. It is also used to make beer in Australia. Source.
  • Jujubes are also a popular type of candy than can be made from jujube paste.
  • Although the tree produces more fruit in hot summers, they are a hardy plant that can endure a wide range of rainfall and temperatures. They are popular in China, Africa, the Mediterranean, the United States, Southeast Europe, and India.
Fact about jujubes
Jujubes look a lot like dates once dried.

How to make jujube sticky rice cake

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 60 minutes.

Ingredients

  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 4 cups rice flour, sweet
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 cup jujube jam or puree
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • Dried jujubes, to garnish

Method

  1. Line an 8” cake pan with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. Add the baking powder and flour to a large bowl and whisk until combined.
  3. Use another large bowl to whisk the water, sugar, and jam until the sugar dissolves. Add the flour mixture slowly to the jam, mixing until it is well combined.
  4. Add the oil and mix until the batter is smooth, then pour into the cake tin. Cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Bring the steamer to a boil and add the cake. Add the lid and steam for 55-60 minutes. Remove the cake from the steamer and allow to cool before serving. Optional: garnish with additional jujubes.

Notes:
-The cake can be reheated in the oven (or toaster oven) until warm.
-The sticky rice cake can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to one month.
-If you enjoy using exotic fruit to make desserts then check out this delicious recipe for durian cake.

Summing up

The jujube is a small stone fruit that is revered by the people of China and is growing in popularity throughout other regions of the world. As interest increases for this fruit in countries like the United States and Australia, the first question people ask is what do jujubes taste like? It is important to understand that the fruit can be eaten fresh or dried, and each has its unique taste.

The fresh jujube has a mild sweet-tart flavor with a crispy texture similar to an apple. Once dried, the jujube takes on a date-like texture without the caramel flavor that you’d get from a date.

Finding fresh jujubes can be a challenge and Asian grocers or local fruit markets will be your best option, when they’re in season. Dried jujubes can easily be purchased online. If you have space at home then growing a tree may be the best option for a regular supply of fruit.

What is your favorite exotic fruit that many people wouldn’t have tasted? Please let us know in the comments below.