Few words have as much commercial power as ‘superfood’. With the rise and fall of clean eating (driven largely by social media) and greater public awareness around healthy eating in general, it’s easy to see why they’ve become a marketing success story. According to a 2014 survey conducted by YouGov for Bupa, 61% of British people reported buying foods because they were labelled superfoods. Although there’s no regulatory definition for them, any food that claims extra nutritional benefits can take the title – think quinoa and kale.
Our appetite for health-food has far from abated, and the latest to join the cohort is jujube, a date-like fruit that featured in this week’s press roundup. As is common with superfoods, the jujube fruit has been used for thousands of years for health and well-being outside of the West. In Asia, it’s sprinkled over breakfasts, into tea, used as a herbal supplement and added to soups for ‘vitality and longevity’, according to the Evening Standard’s Laura Hampson.
Not only is it an adaptogen proven to help reduce stress and anxiety – vitamin company Swanson now uses jujube extract in a stress-relieving supplement – but it’s also high in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and amino acids. The fresh jujube fruit has 20 times more vitamin C than most citrus fruit, so keep it in mind if you’re catching a winter cold. Jujube is mostly eaten dried, and has a sweet, aromatic flavour, much like traditional dates. It can be added to cooking in place of other dried fruit, or used to sweeten porridge, smoothies and baking.
London’s Abakus Foods brought jujube to the UK earlier this year, and its popularity has been steadily on the rise. Mei Leaf Teahouse in London’s Camden has created jujube-infused tea, Gigi & Sons now offers jujube jam and chutney, and even trendy Hackney restaurant Pidgin recently added it to its menu. Suitably ‘Instagrammable’ and swiftly making its way into the mainstream, jujube could soon join goji berries and chia seeds on centre stage – we think it’s one to watch.
Pictured: Jujube fruit, courtesy of Abakus Foods
Content: courtesy of Flavour Feed