Ant Admire Jujube
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Ant Admire jujubes are a larger jujube variety, averaging 3 to 5 centimeters in diameter, and have an elongated, oval to cylindrical shape. The skin is firm, smooth, and thin, transitioning from green when immature to yellow-green, red-brown, to mahogany when mature. Ant Admire jujubes are considered edible in their yellow-green stage, and as the fruit matures into its mahogany phase, the flesh retains its crisp consistency for a longer period of time compared to other jujube varieties. Underneath the surface, the flesh is pale green to white, semi-coarse, airy, and aqueous with a snap-like quality similar to an apple. There is also a small pit found in the center of the flesh. Ant Admire jujubes have a high sugar content, contributing to the fruit’s sweet taste, and develop a fruity, mild apple flavor with subtle tangy notes.
Ant Admire jujubes are available in the late summer through the fall.
Ant Admire jujubes, botanically classified as Ziziphus jujuba, are a rare variety belonging to the Rhamnaceae family. The early to mid-season cultivar is native to China, and its English name is derived from a direct translation of the traditional Chinese name. Ant Admire is speculated to have been named for the fruit’s sweet taste, which attracted many ant species to the trees in China. Ant Admire jujubes were introduced to the United States in the late 20th century and are an all-purpose cultivar used for fresh eating, cooking, and drying. There are approximately 60 to 70 varieties of jujubes currently found in the United States, but only a select few of these cultivars are sold as commercial varieties. Ant Admire jujubes are not commercially cultivated and are a rare, specialty home garden variety shared among jujube enthusiasts. Ant Admire jujubes bear fruit 2 to 3 years after planting and are valued for the fruit’s ability to stay crisp for extended periods, typically longer than other fresh jujube varieties.
Ant Admire jujubes are a good source of fiber to stimulate the digestive tract and are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that strengthens the immune system while reducing inflammation. The fruits also provide potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, phosphorus to build bones and teeth, and zinc to develop genetic material for cells. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, many jujube varieties have been used for their anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. The fruits are frequently steeped into teas to alleviate stress and are believed to have natural detoxifying properties.
Ant Admire jujubes have a sweet taste and crunchy consistency well-suited to various fresh, dried, and cooked applications. When fresh, the fruits are mainly consumed straight, out-of-hand with the pit discarded, and have a texture similar to an airy, crisp apple. The raw fruits can also be deseeded, sliced, and tossed into green salads and fruit bowls, chopped into dips and fruity salsas, or blended into juices and smoothies. Beyond fresh applications, mature Ant Admire jujubes can be incorporated into soups, stews, curries, and rice dishes, cooked into oatmeal, porridges, and sauces, or simmered into jams, syrups, marmalades, and butter. The jujubes can also be smoked, dried, candied, or fermented for extended use. When dried, the fruits have a sticky, date-like consistency that can be used as a sweetener in ice cream, cakes, muffins, bread, other pastries, and teas. Ant Admire jujubes pair well with meats such as pork, poultry, duck, and fish, nuts such as pistachios, almonds, pecans, and walnuts, honey, dark chocolate, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Fresh Ant Admire jujubes can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 weeks. Dried Ant Admire jujubes will keep 6 to 12 months when stored in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
Rare fruit enthusiast Roger Meyers was inspired in the 20th century to expand the cultivation of jujubes within the United States and began planting trees in his private garden in Fountain Valley, California. Jujube cultivation was initially a hobby for Meyers, but as time passed, he realized the increased demand for jujubes through a growing Asian population in Fountain Valley. Meyers began growing and selling both jujube fruits and rootstocks for cultivation, and customers would often call him every day until the fruits were ripe, a mark of excitement around finding the rare varieties. The demand for jujubes continued to increase, inspiring Meyers to expand in cultivation, purchasing land Valley Center, and he also imported many new Chinese jujube varieties for wider diversity. Meyers received most of his jujube cultivars through the Nanjing Botanical Garden, which was one of the first national botanical gardens in China. The botanical gardens had a famous exchange program for seeds and plants, allowing Meyers to import many new jujube cultivars, and the gardens also offered continued research and studies on the varieties to promote quality cultivation. At one point in his career, Meyers had over 25 different varieties of jujubes that he would cultivate and propagate for farmers and wholesalers. In the present-day, Meyers has since passed, but his imported varieties have remained some of the most popular cultivars among American jujube enthusiasts.
Jujubes are native to China, where they have been cultivated for over 4,000 years. The small fruits were naturally crossed by Chinese farmers for thousands of years, creating many new varieties, but in the mid to late 20th century, Chinese scientists sought to develop jujube varieties with improved growth characteristics and flavor for increased cultivation. While the exact origins of when Ant Admire jujubes were created in China is unknown, the variety was introduced to the United States in the 1990s by Roger Meyer, a rare fruit grower located in Southern California. Meyers imported multiple jujube varieties from China into the United States to diversify the jujube market. Today Ant Admire jujubes are still cultivated in China, and outside of Asia, the variety is considered rare, found only through a few gardens in the United States.
Recipes that include Ant Admire Jujube. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Yang's Nourishing Kitchen||Ginseng Chicken Soup|
|Healthy World Cuisine||Goji Berry and Jujube Herbal Tea|
|One Green Planet||Jujube, Raspberry, and Hemp Seed Oatmeal|
|Vitamix||Glutinous Filled Red Dates (jujubes)|