Jujubes- my new Adventure


#641

I will choose a jujube over apple ANYTIME! I guess when we compare to apples we are explaining the texture more than anything. They are smaller than apples and I much prefer the taste. Jujubes are much healthier than apples. They have more vitamin C than citrus and antioxidants and are used in making health supplements. They can be dried and eaten and used like dates with minimal effort to do this…they will dry on the tree or on your counter Plus you do not have to spray jujubes for diseases or insects. In long growing season areas you may get two “seasons” of fruit in one summer as the new growth will also be productive. They don’t require specific pruning to be productive. They are drought tolerant. Some of the trees are very aesthetic and can be used in landscaping. And many of them bear on the same year as planted as a bare root. Some two year old seedlings bear fruit.

It is reported that if you buy jujubes in a market you may not necessarily get choice fruit. Same with all fruit but especially with jujubes because their commercial production is not big in America.

This is a three foot bare root tree that I planted in March

I’m sure some of the others will chime in…

Katy


#642

If you do find some, buy the expensive ones. My wife is fairly accepting of low-quality jujubes and was buying the $1.50 per pound ones which taste like moist cardboard (not that sweet, a bit spongy sometimes, etc). I complained and last time she went, she got some of the $5 per pound ones which were much better. I brought some to work for international potluck day (much to her irritation- “don’t waste those expensive ones…”) and the response was quite positive. The ones I grow are similar in sweetness to the better ones from the expensive batch, but with much better texture (crisp, more juice).

To give some stats, apples are generally in the 10-15 brix (percent sugar) range. Some special apples (Goldrush, Golden Russet, Sweetango) get into the 20-23 range when grown well. I don’t think I’ve had a home-grown jujube under 20 brix. And they can go over 30.

When I had HJ and SC in the past I thought both were great, but had different textures (SC was lighter, while HJ was denser). I didn’t notice any significant difference in sweetness. But even if one was 22 and the other was 26, I think I’d be fine eating the 22. Not that noticeable a difference and probably less likely to cause diabetes. Once you get over 20, fruit is great. On the other hand, a 4 brix gap between 8 and 12 is the difference between a spitter and an OK (though not good) apple.

Hopefully I can compare them again in a week or so.


#643

I am waiting to try Shanxi Li. We have more rain than we know what to do with it including 2-3” yesterday. While it make other fruit taste diluted, SC appeared juicier than I remember.

I complained about Shanxi Li tasted drier and spongy. Maybe, its taste and texture could improve with the tree being very well hydrated this year.


#644

Katy,
You should be a spoke person for jujubes. I agree with everything you said.


#645

Thank you @mamuang. I truly love them and I wish more people knew about them!

Katy


#646

I should corner jujube market in MA!!! Between @BobVance and I, we could take over New England’s jujube market, couldn’t we?


#647

All this talk about how wonderful jujubes are has me wondering why a fruit that has been grown in the US since the early 1900’s is not well known and available in local markets? Where are all the U-pick jujube orchards?


#648

i blame it on sub-par li’s and langs, two of the most common cultivars in usa. Sub-par jujus often deserve to be scorned! The size of fruits and color of fruits also put jujus at a disadvantage. Much like red delicious apples and cavendish bananas are such popular hits in usa – being big-fruited and immaculate in appearance. But there are ugly, smaller apples that are at least as good but for some reason not popular, and most certainly there are many relatively small, ugly/ dull-colored, and even freakishly spotted bananas out there that are way above cavendish bananas in flavor, texture, and overall quality… Appearance seems to take precedence in this country more than anything else. There are people have offered rambutan to, even peeling it for them since they won’t dare touch the hairy rind, and some of them are just close-minded about since it looks, well, ugly, and will not give it a try just because. The recent importation of juju cultivars is evidently jumpstarting the species one more time, and as evident in this thread, there’s this wave of juju fanatics making jujus more mainstream :grin:

there was a time i thought i was the(self-proclaimed)spokesperson, but you know what? actually makes me so happy that there will be others managing to snag the ‘title’ from me, and convincingly at that :slightly_smiling_face:


#649

a niche market in your region you could definitely tap.

new england jujubes-- nothing sounds more novel than that! Being virtually unheard of.


#650

I’ve thought about that- growing fields of them. But I don’t think it would make sense in my immediate area due to high property prices, and long delays before production (4-5 years before significant levels, if ever). Add in expensive stock and an uncertain retail market and it would take quite a leap of faith.

As it is, I’ve planted quite a few, but I’ll be happy to grow enough for me (including family, etc). Right now I’m far far under that production level.

Maybe some of what I learn from these will help the next guy grow them in the North East. For instance, which cultivator other than So and Honey Jar can be productive, what factors in production and how long they take.


#651

Uh…I read your book!!! :heart::joy:

Katy


#652

not necessarily gospel truth, the slapstick juju “scriptures” . Yes, am a juju cultist, and giving fair warning to anyone about getting indoctrinated :smile:


#653

scions from your contorted, just like burntridge’s contorted, produced fruits with viable seeds. While true that juju specimens are some of the most expensive bare-roots offered by nurseries, the qualms about expenses and investment should be drastically reduced if just growing them from seed,and not expecting much from it. Seedlings that bear good fruits would equate to novel cultivars, while those with mediocre fruits, you could just graft over. Jujus probably don’t even need to be irrigated where you’re at, so losses are negligible. Waiting time is probably the most ‘expensive’ investment, apart from real property tax and projected loss of real property income since the land the jujus will be growing on would be idle assets(can’t be sold or rented).

anyways, below is an ultra precocious juju seedling( from lafleur seed) that amazingly produced a couple fruits at ~6 months old. I planted this seed early this year, so evidently it does not require any ‘chill units’ and dormancy to bear any fruits , as it has yet to experience dormancy! :grin:


#654

I was speaking of doing jujube as a commercial venture- growing fields of them to sell. “Not expecting much from it” wouldn’t be a good financial plan :slight_smile:

I am growing some So/Contorted from seed, and you’re right that I’m not expecting much from them. At least for quite a while. Here are my two biggest ones which have been growing for 2 years (surrounded by boysenberry vines). One of them has been in the ground for the last year and both are still about a foot tall. At this rate, it wouldn’t surprise me if we are talking 8 years to significant fruit, given the large trees I plant take at least 4.

My understanding is that when establishing an orchard (apple, peach, pear, etc), the cost of the trees is $7 to $10 each. If you want to use a 10’ spacing (a bit wide compared to most modern high density orchards) with 12’ between rows, that equates to 18 rows (200’ long). For an acre, that would be 378 trees per acre. If you pay retail for them and get the nice big CA trees, that ~$23K (at $60 per tree). You may also want a trellis system (or posts. I’ve been using the 1 5/8" galvanized posts from HD (though I haven’t added them for most of my jujube) which run about $10 each (a bit over that, but you could probably get a volume discount).

But that $20-25K is small compared to the land. One town (with cheapest land in area) over I see an acre for $299K. Taxes are $7K, though they still include a house, which was removed, so they should go down by about 30% (the value of the land was 70% of the appraised value for this house). So, to wait 4 years costs $20K and overall, you’d be in it about $350K before picking a crop.

On the harvest side of things, my So is in year #8 and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten more than 5 pounds from it. If you assume that you can sell it direct for $3/pound (would have other costs- farmer’s market, etc), that means you’d be bringing in $5670 per year. Subtract the $5K for land taxes and you are left with $670 per year. Even if labor (mowing, weeding, picking, etc) was free, that means it would take 500+ years to pay down the initial costs. Jujube trees live a long time, but I fear I might not make it that long (not that I’m saying I won’t, as I’ve always hoped to live long enough to be around for when technology solves death…).

Obviously, the productivity of the trees has a big impact in the above analysis. If my 5 pound figure is wrong and it is really 10lbs (I haven’t measured to be sure), then you are making 6K per year, with an investment paydown in 58 years. Get $4 instead of $3 and you are at ~10K and a 35 year paydown.

The harvest could also go up over time. But, obviously, not a slam dunk. I’m happy to buy a bunch of trees (dozens, not hundreds) and plant them at different sites to see how things go for a while. Learning more, to see which assumptions can be adjusted is key before doing something like this.

Of course, if I were to retire and move somewhere warm where they naturally do well I’d consider planting an acre or two as a retirement project.


#655

the pictures you post make me think they’re producing more than that. I guess those were the branches that have fruit on them and the rest don’t have much. Also just realized that your taxes there are incredibly prohibitive, taking into account the projected productivity of trees and the protracted gestation periods. Still cheaper to grow stuff in the southwest and just ship to there.


#656

Yes, I’m just starting with them so I’m very interested in your results. I just hope this summer is not the start of a weather trend. With so little sun and so much rain getting jujube fruit will be a challenge.


#657

This is the 5th gallon bag of the 4 Honey Jar trees so far. Hopefully each of next year after that will be more and more. Your plan sounds good if you can get cheaper land like where Clark in KS.

Tony


#658

Are they just for eating fresh?


#659

I freezed 3 bags and ate two bag so far and there are plenty left on the four Honey Jar trees. I will dry the Li and Sugarcane because some how they aren’t as tasty as the Honey Jar at my location.

Tony


#660

Tony,
Please tell me again how you sprout the seeds. I am going to collect the seeds this year. Since not all of them ripen at the same time.

Can I collect seeds and put them in a fridge until I have enough to crack all shells at once?
Do I need to keep those seeds ( before cracking) in moist paper towel?
After I crack the shells, do I keep those seeds in the fridge or can I plant them on potting soil right away.?
How long I can keep seeds (shell on) in a fridge?