Jujube

JujubeJujube — Ziziphus zizyphus, commonly called Jujube, Red Date, or Chinese Date, is a species of Ziziphus in the buckthorn family Rhamnaceae, used primarily for its fruits.

Its precise natural distribution is uncertain due to extensive cultivation, but is thought to be in southern Asia, between Syria, northern India, and southern and central China, and possibly also southeastern Europe though more likely introduced there.

It is a small deciduous tree or shrub reaching a height of 5-10 m, usually with thorny branches. The leaves are shiny-green, ovate-acute, 2-7 cm long and 1-3 cm broad, with three conspicuous veins at the base, and a finely toothed margin. The flowers are small, 5 mm diameter, with five inconspicuous yellowish-green petals. The fruit is an edible oval drupe 1.5-3 cm long; when immature it is smooth-green, with the consistency and taste of an apple, maturing dark red to purplish-black and eventually wrinkled, looking like a small date (hence the name Chinese Date). There is a single hard stone, similar to an olive stone.

The freshly harvested as well as the candied dried fruits are often eaten as a snack, or with tea. They are available either red or black, the latter being smoked to enhance their flavour. In mainland China, Korea, and Taiwan, a sweetened tea syrup containing jujube fruits is available in glass jars,photo and canned jujube tea or jujube tea in the form of teabags is also available. Although not widely available, jujube juice and jujube vinegar are also produced.

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