The jujube berry – also known as the Red Date – has been enjoyed for health and well-being in the Far East for thousands of years.
Being entirely new to the UK, it is now sweeping into the British diet for the first time. It has already hit the shelves of over 500 stores, including Ocado, Whole Foods, and Grape Tree. London based startup Abakus Foods is offering a range with the chewy whole fruit, crunchy crisps, nut-stuffed jujube fruits and crunchy sprinkles.
In the Far East, South Koreans sprinkle it over their breakfasts and add it to tea, whilst the Jujube has been a stalwart of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, lauded for its health benefits to sufferers of anxiety, insomnia, and to aid post-birth recovery for new mums.
The berry is high in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and contains 18 out of the 24 amino acids which are essential for the formation of the 50,000 proteins found in the human body. Scientific studies have found the jujube to be beneficial to enhance mood, to aid digestion, and to boost the immune system. The University of Calabria in Italy reported that compounds in the jujube fruit were found to be effective at fighting breast cancer cells*.
Other health food companies spreading the jujube craze include natural health supplement firm Viridian, which uses jujube extract in its “Cherry Night” powder to aid a good night’s sleep, and US organic supplement Swanson whose jujube extract is used as a stress-reliever.
“I’ve been having jujube in a bedtime smoothie. They help me unwind and relax.” says Debbie Curtis, a delighted customer. “Abakus’ jujube dried fruits are the best discovery I have made for years.” Says Wendy Greenbury, another customer. Even beloved celebrity chef Ken Hom is a fan: “They are delicious and have great health benefits.”
The jujube berry has a naturally sweet, date-like aroma and a chewy texture which makes it a popular choice as a sweet snack. All products are gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar free, sulphite free, paleo, and vegan.
Stockists: Ocado, Whole Foods, Grape Tree, Revital, www.abakusfoods.com. RRP: £1.99 per bag.