Here's Everything You Need to Know About Jujube Fruit
Spoiler: It has nothing to do with your favorite childhood candy.
When you think of jujubes, you probably think of the sticky candy drops that remind you of the good ol' days, but those gummy candies are not the real jujubes. Yes, you heard that right—we have an impostor on our hands. So, what are the real jujubes? Here's everything you need to know about jujube fruit, its health benefits and how to eat it.
What Is Jujube Fruit?
Jujube fruit is commonly referred to as a red date or Chinese date, though the fruits are botanically unrelated. Although native to Southern Asia, the jujube fruit has become popular in many other parts of the world, and they can be eaten as a snack or incorporated into recipes. The fruit also has a variety of health benefits that we will dive into a little bit later.
Related: What Is Coconut Aminos?
How Does Jujube Fruit Taste?
If you're interested in trying jujube fruit for yourself, here's what to expect. When fresh, the white flesh of a jujube fruit is very similar in taste to that of an apple. When dried, jujube fruit tastes a lot like the dates you're familiar with from your local grocery store.
How Does Jujube Fruit Grow?
First things first: jujube fruit is a drupe (a stone fruit), and it grows on trees. Like all other drupes, jujubes have a stone in the center of their flesh—similar to peaches, plums, cherries and dates. As far as climate goes, jujube fruit thrives in warm weather but can also withstand moderate winter temperatures. The fruit can either be picked when its skin becomes dark brown and it's still firm to the touch, or left on the tree until fully dried.
How to Eat Jujube Fruit
Since it's not yet super popular in the United States, you might be wondering how to eat jujube fruit. Dried jujubes are commonly used to make tea and jam, according to EatingWell's test kitchen manager, Breana Killeen. They can also be used in place of dates or raisins in cakes and cookies, as well as in sauces for savory dishes, such pork, chicken or firm fish, like swordfish, according to Killeen. "They're also a common addition to Chinese hot pot," she says. To add a sweet kick to a savory meal, try throwing them into this Chinese Pork & Vegetable Hot Pot.
Jujube Nutrition Facts
Before getting into specific jujube nutritional benefits, here are the nutrition facts for 100 grams of jujubes (about 3.5 ounces or 3 fresh jujube fruits, though they can vary in size):
- Calories: 79
- Fat: 0g
- Carbs: 20g
- Sodium: 3mg
- Vitamin C: 69mg
- Potassium: 250mg
- Calcium: 21mg
- Phosphorus: 23mg
- Protein: 1g
Nutrition facts from USDA Food Composition Database
Jujube Health Benefits
Aside from being a natural and delicious snack, jujube fruit has some impressive potential health benefits. In Eastern medicine, it has been traditionally used to help with insomnia and reduce inflammation. Jujubes deliver calcium and phosphorus—for strong and healthy bones—and more vitamin C (per weight) than an orange, along with other key vitamins, minerals and organic compounds. Fresh or dried, this whole fruit also packs plenty of fiber.
Related: Tart Cherry Juice Benefits
The Bottom Line
Although jujube fruit is not so common to the American diet, we think that should change! Not only is it a nutritious sweet snack but it also has potential health benefits that make us want to incorporate jujube fruit into our diets ASAP!