Real Live Jujubes (Not From A Movie Theater)

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So at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, where I bought the ingredients to make my soul-stirring Summer’s End pasta, I spied an unusual sight–something I’d never seen before: a crate of Jujubes, identified as “Japanese Dates.” Jujubes are a real thing? A fruit? Not just a movie theater candy? I was intrigued. So I filled a small bag with them and brought them home. First, though, I paid. I’m not a crook.

As I paid, I asked the man about the Jujubes. Do you peel them? Cook them? Eat them whole? “They’re like little apples,” he explained. “So eat them like that.”

So, when I got back home, I washed a jujube and held it in my hand for this picture.

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Then I took a bite:

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Interesting!

Yes, it tasted like an apple, only dryer and not as sweet. After a moment, the taste on my tongue was kind of funky, almost–and I said this in the intro to last week’s podcast–savory. Reminiscent of durian. Or was I making that up?

I took another bite. No, not durian-esque, just dry and funky. Delicious? Not particularly. But a fun thing to try. Maybe a good thing to snack on. More fun to talk about and blog about.

In conclusion, if you’re at a movie theater, stick to the candy. If you’re at the farmer’s market, try these. They’re pretty decent.

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12 comments

  1. I love jujubes! Not like durian at all :P They are kind of dry, but they taste great on their own or dipped into chili salt (made by muddling Thai chili with salt and stored in an airtight container). Enjoy!

  2. Watch them over the course of several days as they dry and shrivel, and they’ll start to taste a little date-ish.

  3. We received some at CSA the last two years. The last time we put them in the dehydrator. They were very date/prune tasting. Quite yummy.

  4. I never knew what these were called! My parents have a huge tree in their backyard and they dry them for teas and such.

  5. We used to eat these like candy in my house growing up (since we never had actual candy). They were dried up and wrinkly though. We would buy them at the farm stand down the road and I have never seen them since. Will definitely be keeping an eye out at the farmers market this week.

  6. There is a Chinese/Vietamese restaurant here in Seattle that has a duck soup with jujubes. It’s pretty much the closest thing to heaven in a bowl I’ve ever had. And yes, the rehydrated, formerly dry jujubes are very like dates. I’ve never had them fresh and am now going to go on a hunt for them….

  7. What fun – now you need to track down fresh dates! A little farm stand in Huntington NY used to get them in once a year, still on their stems. Eating them was a startling experience, and one I highly recommend if you can find them. They are a bit dry and puckery initially, but the trick is to chew them slowly – really masticate them. Magically they grow sweeter – though never as sweet as their dried counterparts – and the flavor is uniquely delicious!

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