Dried red dates fruit has a long tradition of use dating (!) back to the fourth millennium BC in Mesopotamia, and is prized because of its sweet taste, nutritive value, and long shelf life. Ziziphus jujuba (from Greek ζίζυφον, zízyphon), commonly called jujube (sometimes jujuba), red date, Chinese date, Korean date, or Indian date is a species of Ziziphus in the buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae).
This species is cultivated widely and is naturalized all across North Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and China. They are grape-to-strawberry-sized fruits containing a single large seed in the centre. This makes them drupes.
Jujubes are red inside and out, with a crispy texture, edible skin, and a sweet-tart, apple-like flavour. When ripe, they can be stored at room temperature for about a week.
Jujubes or red date is dried as a snack or included in an assortment of desserts. Many regional Middle Eastern cuisines incorporate red dates, as do Mediterranean cuisines like those of Italy and Greece. Dried jujube varieties can be used to substitute dates or apples in recipes. Just peel the fruit and remove the single seed inside. Jujubes can also be pickled whole or used to make tea (now we’re getting somewhere).
“Both China and Korea produce a sweetened tea syrup containing jujube fruit in glass jars, and canned jujube tea or jujube tea in the form of teabags. Here at Transformitea we prefer to go straight to the sweet source and add between 10% & 15% red dates to both our Absolu Smart Tea and our Nuit tissane.”
Now – on to the good stuff…
Red dates aka. jujubes are known as China’s “cure-all fruit” and have 70-80x more vitamin C than grapes and apples. They contain 20 times more vitamin C than any citrus fruit, strengthening the immune system and fighting infections, which may be why they’ve been used medicinally for millennia in many cultures, as a tea for sore throat, for example.
While they may not have a large amount of any one nutrient, jujubes contain a wide array of different ones. They’ve got vitamin A, B1, B2, protein, calcium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium. Along with all these they contain iron and magnesium which are known for enriching and replenishing the blood (great for women).
Red dates are taken to strengthen the stomach which helps to digest food, tone the blood, improve insomnia, to help protect the liver and reduce cholesterol.
Whew. Wait, more?
Medical studies have found that jujube fruits and extracts can help lower blood pressure, reverse liver disease, and treat anaemia. Jujube extracts are also added to skin care products specifically to diminish wrinkles, relieve dry skin, and treat sunburn pain.
How can one fruit can have all these benefits? It has to do with not just the combination, but also the complexity of its phytonutrients. Scientists have identified eight flavonoids in jujube fruit, including spinosin and swertish, which have sedative properties – undoubtedly the reason jujube seeds are used to treat anxiety and insomnia in traditional Chinese medicine.
The free radical-scavenging phenol puerarin in jujubes could keep your cholesterol levels in the normal range and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease. The flavonoid apigenin (also found in chamomile, thyme, and red wine) contains antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory properties, helping to positively impact the liver, digestion, and allergies.
Jujubes are also loaded with 18 of the most important amino acids. Could this dull old drupe BE any more magnificent?!
© Transformitea 2017