PRODUCE: Australian jujubes

Whether eaten crisp and fresh, or dried and chewy, Prickle Hill Produce's James Duffell reveals there's much to enjoy about Australian jujubes.

What other names is the jujube fruit known by?
Chinese dates or red dates.

Where did Jujubes originate?
Jujubes are found all over the world but they are an ancient fruit from Asia and the Middle East.

Where do they grow the best in Australia?
Jujube trees are quite drought tolerant and are commercially grown in Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.They are best suited to well-drained, sandy soil and hot, dry weather, to ensure ripeness.

How long before a tree bears fruit?
Two years after planting the tree bears fruit.

How would you describe their flavour profile?
You can eat a jujube fresh, it’s got texture like an apple and a golden-syrup sweetness. Once dried they taste similar to a dried fig.

What are some of the ways in which to incorporate jujubes in cooking?
Fresh jujubes can be sliced thin and used in salads or smeared with fresh burrata. Pickled, sliced jujubes are also delicious.
In Asian cooking, dried jujubes are used in stocks, soups and broths to add depth and sweetness. They may also be used in tea and stuffings.
         Western cooking quite oftenly use them in desserts because of their caramel sweetness. Personally, I really like them in stuffings or pitted and used instead of saltanas on roast vegetables and curries. Jujubes also look and taste amazing on a cheese board or blended into a paste.

James Duffell is from Prickle Hill Produce. Contact him via 0428 551 837 or visit the website, pricklehillproduce.com.au.