October 28, 2014

Winter Jujubes 冬棗

Winter Jujube, jujube, dates, chinese dates,  冬棗, chinese, fruit, seasonal
By Published: 2014-10-28

One great thing that happens when you start regularly going to the your neighborhood wet market or farmer's market is that you start to become more attuned to nature's seasons as they pass.  For example, fruits, in their original state, are a seasonal thing, coming into the markets as they ripen to their full sweetness.  Nowadays however, corporate needs, science, etc. have combined to convolute nature's four seasons into one large air-conditioned endless supermarket that serves your fruity needs, whatever they are, seemingly all year round.  Meh, I'd rather have it fresh than air conditioned!  

Winter Jujube, jujube, dates, chinese dates,  冬棗, chinese, fruit, seasonal

The latest lovely fruit to suddenly appear in all its ripened glory in our neighborhood wet market is the Winter Jujube, also know as Winter Dates, or 冬棗.  Quite a looker of a fruit, these perfect autumn fruit are just waiting to be painted into a gorgeous still life!  I didn't even know what these beauties were at first, finally figuring out that these tenderly brown bespeckled fruit are what eventually become the dried red dates that the Chinese often cook with!  

Winter Jujube, jujube, dates, chinese dates,  冬棗, chinese, fruit, seasonal

Smaller than an apple, the Winter Jujube fits just into the palm of your hand.  If you get them fresh these jujubes are wonderfully sweet and crisp.  The taste and texture is similar to that of the apple but with a more clear, concentrated sort of sweetness, really delicious and soothing to eat.  It definitely is sweeter than any apple you'll ever eat!  The skin is also rather like the skin of an apple but thinner and there is a tiny pit in the middle of the fruit.  I've always seen lots of different kinds of dried dates but for some reason this is the first time I've ever tried fresh dates!

Winter Jujube, jujube, dates, chinese dates,  冬棗, chinese, fruit, seasonal
Plate from Flora de Filipinas, 1880-1883?
The hardy date tree has been cultivated by us humans since before 9000 BC.  Talk about history!  The Winter Date has been plucked from the tree and eaten fresh, cooked, made into sweets, fermented into wine, made into medicine, etc. in pretty much all the countries in Asia since, well really, since time immemorial! 

Winter Jujube, jujube, dates, chinese dates,  冬棗, chinese, fruit, seasonal

The Winter Jujube is really rich in vitamin C and so it is the perfect fruity snack to boost up your immune system during the autumn season of sniffles and coughs.  Once again, Mother Nature provides exactly what we need when we need it to protect and heal ourselves!  If only we would heed her gentle voice more often!

Have you ever tried the Winter Jujube 冬棗?  Let us know what you think!


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