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Cultivation and uses
The Jujube has been cultivated for over 4,000 years for its edible fruit, and over 400 cultivars have been selected.
The tree tolerates a wide range of temperatures and rainfall, though it requires hot summers and sufficient water for acceptable fruiting. Unlike most of the other species in the genus, it tolerates fairly cold winters, surviving temperatures down to about -15°C. This enables the jujube to grow in desert habitats, provided there is access to underground water through the summer. Virtually no temperature seems to be too high in summertime.
Many jujube trees can still be seen in the central and southern regions of Israel, especially in the Arava Valley, where it is the second most common tree. A jujube tree near Ein Hatzeva in the Arava is estimated to be over 300 years old.
The fruits are used in Chinese and Korean traditional medicine, where they are believed to alleviate stress. The fruit is ground to powder, with very small amounts required to promptly calm nerves and purify blood quality. The Australian drink 1-bil makes de-stressing (or relaxing) claims on the basis of its jujube ingredient.
Ziziphin, a compound in the leaves of the jujube, suppresses the ability to perceive sweet taste in humans. The fruit, being mucilaginous, is also very soothing to the throat and decoctions of jujube have often been used in pharmacy to treat sore throats.
The freshly harvested as well as the candied dried fruits are often eaten as a snack, or with tea. They are available either red or black (called hóng z?o or h?i z?o, respectively, in Chinese), the latter being smoked to enhance their flavour . In mainland China, Korea, and Taiwan, a sweetened tea syrup containing jujube fruits is available in glass jars,photo and canned jujube tea or jujube tea in the form of teabags is also available. Although not widely available, jujube juice and jujube vinegar are also produced.
In China, a wine made from jujubes called hong zao jiu (???) is also produced. Jujubes are sometimes preserved by storing in a jar filled with baijiu (Chinese liquor), which allows them to be kept fresh for a long time, especially through the winter. Such jujubes are called jiu zao (??; literally "spirited jujube").
In addition, jujubes, often stoned, are a significant ingredient in a wide variety of Chinese delicacies. In Persian cuisine, the dried drupes are known as annab.