The fruit size varies depending on the cultivar but ranges from 1 inch (2 1/2 cm) wide to 2 inches (5 cm.) It has thin, edible, pale red skin with yellow dots on it. The flesh is yellow and crisp, like that of an apple, if harvested at the right time. But the flesh starts to soften and the skin starts to wrinkle soon after it turns all red, in about a week. As the skin wrinkles, it also turns dark brown as well, giving rise to the synonym name “Chinese Date.” The taste is somewhere between a prune and an apple. At not stage is it very juicy, though: some have compared the texture to Styrofoam.
There is a hard pit in the middle, with two seeds in it.
The Jujube Fruit tree is deciduous, hardy down to -28 F (-33 C), and growing up to 50 feet (15 metres) tall with glossy green leaves 1 to 2 inches (2 1/2 to 5 cm) long that turn yellow in the fall, and fall off. The leaves are fuzzy underneath. The tree does not grow true to seed, but it can grow from suckers the tree puts out, or grafting. Many cultivars have thorns.
The tree flowers with very small white to greenish-yellow blossoms. The fruit doesn’t ripen all at once, but rather over a period of several weeks. The fruit ripens from green to yellow-green to red. It won’t ripen any further if harvested when green.
Cultivars include Admiral Wilkes, Chico (GI 7-62), Ed Hegard, GA-866, GI-1183, Jin, Globe, Gola, Honey Jar, Lang, Li, Redlands #4, Sherwood, Silverhill, So, Sugar Cane, Thornless, Tigerstooth, and Topeka. Some cultivars are better for drying, some are better for fresh eating.
The fruit can be eaten fresh out of hand, or dried or juiced. It can be allowed to dry right on the tree. In China, it is often preserved in honey and sugar.
Indian Jujube is more frost-sensitive, and the fruit is not considered as good.
For dried Jujube, dried apples, dates or prunes.
Jujube Fruit is native to China (some speculate Syria.) It has been cultivated in China for over 4,000 years.
It was introduced into Beaufort, North Carolina from Europe in 1837 by a Robert Chisholm. Better cultivars were introduced in 1908 by Frank Meyer (1875-1918.)
Pronounced “juh ju bee.”