When Abakus got in touch and asked if I'd like to try out some of their jujube products, I replied with a very enthusiastic yes. I always love discovering new foodie treats that invariably deliver new flavours and textures to play around with, as snacks or in cooking. I also immediately started singing "I am the eggman, I am the walrus, jujube-jube" which is what I always thought the words to the famous Beatles song were. It turns out that it is actually "Goo goo g'joob" which could mean anything from the noise walruses make to a reference to a James Joyce quote to (my favourite hairbrained theory) a translation of "Living is easy with eyes closed" in Inuit (because the Inuit see the walrus as a symbol of death, Paul is the walrus, and - as the conspiracists all know - Paul is dead !). I suspect it actually means nothing at all, and relates more to the consumption of numerous class-A drugs by John Lennon when he wrote the lyrics, but there you go !
Anyway, back to the jujube fruit ! I'd never seen or tasted them before so I had no idea what to expect. They look a bit like giant dried cranberries so I was expecting a tart flavour when I popped one in my mouth. My instant reaction was "hmm they taste like dates", which was confirmed when I took a closer look at the pack and discovered that they are also known as red dates.
They have an unusual but not unpleasant spongy texture, a bit like dried apple, and the whole family enjoyed snacking on them, either popping the whole fruit or the ring-shaped slices in their mouths. It's not all about the taste though. Jujube fruit are being hailed as a new superfood, because they are packed with phytonutrients and high in antioxidants. They also have sedative properties to help calm the mind and are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat anxiety and insomnia.
Jujube is also available in powder form and can be used as a natural sweetener in cooking, baking, smoothies etc.
Abakus kindly sent me through some recipes to try out too, and they show how versatile jujube is. You can use it in both sweet and savoury recipes, such as Revitalising Jujube & Broccoli Stir Fry, Jujube & Oat Gluten-Free Superfood Muffins, Refreshing Jujube Spinach Salad or Nourishing Jujube Tea. I've also been scattering them on top of my morning muesli/granola and overnight oats, for an extra burst of vitamins to start the day.
All of the jujube products are vegan-friendly, gluten-free and dairy-free, with no additives and no added sugar. They will be stocked at Wholefoods and a number of health food shops in the UK from September.
RRP : £1.80 per pouch, whether whole fruit, slices or powder
for more information : http://www.abakusfoods.com/
Disclosure : I received the products in order to write an honest review.