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Healthy ingredient: (dried) jujube date


The healthy benefits and recipes of Chinese jujube dates

Having said that I haven’t been really into eating lately, I am actually a little worried if the ‘little little life’ is having enough nutrients, although he has been bouncing around in me energetically. Probably it is him who is not really into eating. Ha… — But, how can that be? As we both love eating. :)

Anyway, so I have been trying to ‘force’ myself to eat a little bit more. One of the things I really have to eat is — jujube dates. These dates are so rich in all different kinds of nutrients… actually in China, they have been traditionally used for medical purposes, as well as for keeping people healthy in everyday’s life.

You probably are familiar with normal dates, but the  jujube date is different to those ones we normally can buy from the supermarkets over here.

Jujube date is a red date with a very very thin skin. The fresh ones are very juicy, but the dried ones are even more nutritious. They have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. In the Chinese medical ‘bible’ ‘Bencao Gangmu’, jujube date is described as beneficial for  spleen, ‘smooth’ stomach, open up ‘meridians’ in the body, help with blood circulation, lower down the blood pressure’ and so on. In modern medicine, jujube dates are known to strengthen the immune system, strengthen the muscles, protect the liver; they are also powerful antiallergenics, antioxidants, calmants…

Depending on the soil and weather,  jujube dates grow differently; in China, for example, jujube dates from ‘Xinjiang’ and ‘Shangxi’ provinces are considered the best ones, as they are big in size, have thick ‘flesh’, and natural sweet taste.

Normally, dried jujube dates can be eaten just as snacks. It is said that having at least 5 or 6 everyday is particularly good for women to make up for the blood lost during menstruation; they are also good for keeping a youthful appearance.

Jujube dates can also be boiled with other Chinese herbs for medical purposes, or when you are having tea, for example, eight treasures tea, or having fresh camomile tea, leave couple of dried jujube dates the tea cup, it is great for the taste and health. It can also be cooked into rice dishes, for example, northern style ‘Zongzi’, or the famous eight treasures congee.

Well, saying that, you probably will have to take some time to get used to their texture, as jujube dates are more drier than normal dried dates, and less sweet. I find the dried skin can be a bit ‘rough’ for the throat.

If you are in China, you can easily find these red dates in many shops, choose the big ones — simple principle. Over here, in UK, nowadays, it is easy to find them in many Chinese supermarkets, but unfortunately, the quality is not as good, they are probably not ideal for snack, but still very good for the tea, soup or congee.

Talking about this just reminds me there are more dried jujube dates recipes I will have to share. :))

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