The jujubes

History and spread of jujubes.

This sweet fruit and its tree have been known since ancient times. The Odyssey talks about it, citing it as Lotus, and also Herodotus, in the «Stories», exalting it for its sweetness and reporting an interesting information about the famous «Broth». In fact, it would not be a simple way of saying, but a real distillate that was made by fermenting the pulp of these berries that «intoxicated» since the Egyptian age. It seems that it was introduced in Europe at a very ancient age and that it was even present in the first century after Christ. The area of ​​diffusion is very vast, some species have reached India, where the fruits are considered laxatives. In Italy only since the 16th century are they used for medicinal purposes, but we will talk about this in the next paragraphs.

The tree

This fruit tree from Central Asia has mainly a shrubby habit and only sometimes assumes the shape of a tree, reaching a maximum height of six meters with an irregular and thorny structure. The leaves are oval, lamellate and with serrated edges while the flowers are gathered in tops of 3 or 5; they have a whitish color and are hermaphrodites. Very often it was used as an ornamental plant because it was considered a lucky tree, especially in the Romagna area. The area of ​​origin and diffusion seems to be Syria and today it can be seen in a huge area that goes from China to Spain. In Italy it is present in the hottest areas of the Center-South and needs a large amount of water to develop at its best. The jujube is the the only plant of this family to be of food type, in fact, many other plants with medicinal and curative purposes belong to it. Source:

The fruit: food uses

The fruit of the jujube tree has an oval and elongated conformation, contains only one stone and takes on a color from green to brown, depending on the degree of ripeness. They can be eaten fresh or dry, natural. If eaten fresh they have a herbaceous taste similar to that of apple, if instead they are eaten dry, they take on a sweetish note, similar to dates. They are mainly used in the kitchen, both fresh and to make jams and marmalades. Very famous is the «jujube broth», a brandy with ancient origins, made for its alleged calming powers. A curiosity: the stones of these fruits were used by Venetian spinners as saliva-producing sweets, as it was necessary for them to constantly wet their fingers to do their job. Source:

Jujubes: Medicinal uses of jujubes

Medicinal uses are many, but in Italy they are almost unknown. Roots, seeds and fruits are used above all in China as anxiolytics and remedy for insomnia. Arab medicine, on the other hand, uses the fruit as a depurative, antifebrile, in inflammations and in the treatment of asthma, while the seed, as a tonic. Always Arabic is the origin of the historic herbal tea of ​​the four fruits, which combines, in equal parts, jujube, dates, figs and grapes; used in inflammatory forms of the respiratory system. The fruit is particularly rich in sugars (30 g per 100 g of edible part), has a relatively high caloric value compared to other fresh fruit (120 calories). It also contains high amounts of vitamin C (40 mg) and this makes it similar to citrus fruits. Source:

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