"a taste like a small, sweet and nutty apple." ABC
"Once they are ripe and dry, they taste more like dates". Wiki-how
I have been writing this blog for so long now that I am beginning to forget what I have written about. And I may well have written about jujubes before - the name rings a mild bell, particularly it's other name of red date. So forgive me If this a repetitive.
Today I had to to go to Doncaster Shopping Town to buy birthday presents and whilst there I passed by the Colonial Food Store, which often has interesting things out front. And today they had jujubes, so I took this picture. Alas I did not take note of the price which was very remiss of me.
Jujubes are Chinese of course, and the Doncaster/Box Hill area is a Mecca for the Chinese of Melbourne, although there are others too. It has made the food shops so much more interesting around here. They are apparently the most important fruit in China and have been used for centuries in traditional medicine and cuisine. Teas seem to be a big thing for example.
And so the Australian farmers are increasingly dabbling in growing this small tree. I think the main impetus is export as the season here is the opposite to the season in Asia, and so presumably a commercial proposition. I did see one writer express concern about over production, which is why I should have taken note of the price. Is it an expensive luxury or is it within reach?
Jujubes can be eaten fresh or dried. When fresh they range in colour from pale green to brown.
If you are going to eat them fresh the recommendation is to eat them before they have turned brown and wrinkly. Dried jujubes look like this:
So what can you do with them? Well I looked for exciting suggestions. I wondered whether any of our Asian chefs might have something, but no, I can't find anything from them. I did see a few, but they were fairly definitely Asian, and not really something that I would try. So no recipes I'm afraid, But then you, like me, are probably never going to buy any. So just go with what Wiki-How has to say about how they can be used.
"Know what to pair jujubes with. They go well with nuts, such as almonds, pistachios, and walnuts. You can also use them alongside sweeteners, such as brown sugar, chocolate, or honey. They go especially well with coconut, cream cheese, and oranges. Here are some other tasty jujube pairings to give you ideas:
Sautee jujubes with some bell pepper, eggplant, greens, onion, or summer squash.
Pair it with kale, diced onion, some olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper.
Roast jujubes with chopped root veggies, apples, and pears."
The general advice seemed to be to use fresh ones like apples and dried ones like dates - their common name is red date after all. So interesting but not enticing perhaps. But then think of all those other things that you once had never heard of that are now commonplace - soy sauce, quinoa, kiwi fruit, box choy, chia seeds, tortillas ...