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jujube

Pronunciation: [JOO-joo-bee]

1. Also called Chinese red date and simply red date, this venerable fruit has been prized in China for 4,000 years. The varieties of jujube are myriad—the fruit can be round or ovoid, can range from 1 to 2 inches in diameter and can vary in color from yellowish to yellow-green to red, all with colorful blotching. Jujubes have a crunchy-crisp skin and a flesh akin to that of a spongy apple. The flavor is mildly sweet and not very acidic. The jujube is generally imported from China, though some are being grown on America's West Coast. Some fresh fruit is available (mainly in the western United States) in August and September, usually only in specialty produce markets or through mail order. Dried jujubes—available in Chinese markets—have a leathery skin that, depending on the variety, can be red (most common), off-white or almost black. The flavor of the rather dry, yellowish flesh is prunelike. The dried fruit must be soaked in water before using. Chinese cooks use this fruit in both savory and sweet dishes. 2. [JOO-joo-bee] A tiny fruit-flavored candy with a hard, gummy texture.


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