The Jujube [Ziziphus jujuba] is also referred to as Chinese dates. The jujube is from China and in its dried form it looks like a date. Jujubes taste a little like an apple and are eaten fresh or dried. Jujubes are eaten out of hand as a fruit or cut up and added to baked goods such as tarts and muffins. Here is a recipe for Jujube Butter Oatmeal Bars, similar to date bars. The jujube is very high in vitamin C.
Most of the world's supply of jujubes come from China. The trees grow quite well in parts of California and there are a few commercial growers here including Fairview Orchards in Ojai and there are some orchards in San Diego country that grow the fruit.
Jujubes are not as popular in the U.S. as they are in some countries so you probably won't find these in your neighborhood grocery store. They are sometimes sold dried in health food stores and some Asian grocery stores. You can also find them online at Amazon.com: Dried Jujube
If you don't have jujubes you can substitute equal amounts of either of these alternatives.
These substitutes will vary the flavor
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Preheat your oven to 325F
Combine the sugar, butter, minced jujubes with the water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil, remove them from the heat and set aside to cool.
Sift the dry ingredients together then add to the jujube mixture. Pour into a prepared loaf pan and bake at 325° F for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Going back to childhood days, who doesn't remember those chewy little candies called jujubes? Well, we have our own jujube tree in our garden, and it's definitely something different. This one is a grafted variety, - "Lang", bearing 1 to 2-inch oval fruits in autumn. Otherwise called the Chinese Date and widely planted in the Orient, this small tree is related to the Buckthorn and bears a striking resemblance to it. The tree is deciduous and therefore can withstand heavy frosts, and will begin bearing the first or second year after planting. Bearing takes place on new wood and the yield is consistently heavy. Fruit from seedling trees is much smaller than from grafted varieties. They are so darned good eaten out of hand, glaced, or in cakes and cookies, that you'll probably want the "Lang" variety like ours, or the "Li" which is similar, but round. Have a jujube! Garden writer Charles Holtz