What is Jujube (Daechu) ?
Jujube (Daechu 대추) also known as Red or Chinese date is native to Southern Asia.
Jujubes grow on trees (Ziziphus jujuba) and they are smooth and green when immature with seed pits inside, with a similar appearance to green apple (a tiny one and more drum shaped). They can be eaten at this stage with the fruit being lightly crunchy and sweet. When fully ripe and mature, they’re dark red and will be wrinkly outside and spongy inside once dried.
Not To Be Confused With
The common dates or Medjool dates that are fruits from the date palm tree and are sticky and very sweet and is very different from jujubes.
Where and What To Buy
Korean or Asian grocery store, online, Amazon. There are no big differences except the ones from Korea will be smaller but have more intense flavor.
If you can buy fresh jujubes (they are probably available seasonally in fall at Asian or Korean grocery stores at big cities), enjoy them while fresh and also you can also dry them at home. The jujubes may be green when fresh but will turn red as it dries.
How to Use/Cook
In Korean cooking, fresh jujubes are not used but only the dried red daechus.
Daechu have a naturally sweet flavor so it is added whole in dried state to dishes like Galbijjim and Samgyetang to add a wonderfully sweet and aromatic taste to them and is often discarded before serving as they tend to disintegrate after cooking for a long time.
Daechu are also often added to desserts, used as decoration for sweet rice cakes like Yaksik. When using it this way, you slice it open, remove the pit while carving around it and then you slice it thin as strips or wrap it to make flowers.
You can also watch my Youtube video shorts HERE to see it in action -
It is also sliced with the pit removed and mixed with honey or syrup to produce a sweetened tea called Daechu Cha 대추차. It is also eaten as a snack as well as used in traditional medicine.
How to Clean/Store
Fresh fully ripened jujubes can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days. Dried jujubes can be stored for up to a year in the pantry or refrigerator and even longer if kept in the freezer. Keep in an airtight container or heavy duty plastic bag. Avoid keeping in humid areas.
How To Grow
- You can purchase Jujube trees in the US at some nurseries and they can be grown at home without too much fuss. Fruits can be harvested when tree is mature. Search online for 'Jujube Tree'.
Make Jujube Tea or Daechu Cha (대추차) by simmering dried red jujube in water and drink a cup.
- In Korean herbal medicine, they are known to improve sleep and decrease anxiety.
- Dried Jujube tea (Daechu Cha 대추차) is also known to warm up the body and it can help with sinus allergies due to cold temperatures or body being too cold.