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JUJUBES  - Oshawa/Whitby This Week 2005

Why write an article about the jujube you say?  Why not?  The jujube has become part of the lexicon of our culture.  It has now been around for 110 years.  It’s a Canadian invention!  It has no fat.  It is however, a carbohydrate, so be forewarned.

The name jujube is taken from the botanical genus zizyphus, a wide-ranging variety of thorny shrubs and trees of the buckthorn family, some of which produce an edible fruit, the jujube.  Zizyphus trees stretch from the Mediterranean to China and part of North Africa. 

The following may explain the connection to the modern jujube confection:  The edible fruit is sometimes referred to as a berry-like ‘drupe’ which the Oxford Dictionary defines as a “fleshy indehiscent fruit with an outer skin and a central stone enclosing the seed (e.g. a cherry, a plum)”, etc.  An indehiscent fruit is any fruit that does not split open to release the seed.  Other examples include peaches; apricots; olives; mangoes; and nectarines.  It is probably a coincidence that the colour of the aforementioned fruits is reflected in the colour selection of jujubes with one exception, the black jujube.

In 1892, Charles H. Doerr began making and selling cookies and candies from his small grocery store in Kitchener (then Berlin), Ontario.  The company and family name were legally changed to “Dare” in 1945 to ease pronunciation outside the local community as the company expanded nationally.

Dare jujubes are red, green, orange, yellow, and black.  Interestingly enough, the ratio of colours is two reds for every one of the other colours.  Presumably, red is the most popular.  The mixing of the jujubes for packing however is a random act.  Consequently, and very likely, one may find an uneven balance in the number of jujubes of a particular colour.

The Americans also pronounce jujubes thusly: joo-joo-bees.  The Henry Heide company began manufacturing jujubes sometime around 1920.

Although jujubes have no fat, four ounces of jujubes is the equivalent of 370 calories and our daily recommended intake of sugar.  As a carbohydrate, the same serving represents 39% of the recommended intake.  The nutrient serving size is 1.5 ounces, but I’ve never known anyone to eat 1.5 ounces of jujubes; it’s usually more.  Just in case you were contemplating bringing some jujubes to the gym, they have no protein whatsoever.  They will keep your mouth moist however.

During a fifty-one day stay in hospital, jujubes were my saviour.  Nurses love jujubes!  In fact, not long after I left the hospital I returned to Lakeridge Health Oshawa, and left 11 lbs. (5 kgs.) of jujubes at the nurse’s station as a token of appreciation.  During a return visit I was told the 11 lbs. were consumed in 3 days.  In other words, the nurses ate 16,280 calories worth of jujubes in 3 days!  It was a jujube joust.

Apparently, if your jujubes dehydrate and begin to harden, they can be micro-waved for a handful of seconds to soften them up.  However, one should never have hard jujubes in one’s home – this is a sure sign of an ‘occasional, but non-committal’ jujube enthusiast, one that eats jujubes judiciously.  Jujubes should be consumed with wild abandon, copious amounts of jujube juice frothing at the mouth.

Personally, I do not chew jujubes; I savour them.  I suck them, 12 at a time, not 11 nor 13, always 12.  For the first several minutes a coherent dialogue is not possible, but then, why would anyone wish to talk when one has the unadulterated bliss brought on by a mouthful of jujube juice.  They will last approximately 30 – 40 minutes before they finally dissolve.

In conclusion, celebrate your day with a handful of jujubes.  It adds to your prestige and your dentist will thank you.


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