* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
New! Jujube Lore & Facts from our readers
- From Tom S: I started working as a packing department worker at Heide back in (I believe it was) 1978 and worked my way up to being the packaging department supervisor. I worked there until 1983. So, if there is anything you'd like to know about jujubes I'll be glad to try to stir up some old memories. I hate to do this to you but the pronunciation that we used around the factory was JOO-JOOBS. (Editor's Note: Oh dear. NOW what do we do?) Even the old employees that used to work in the NYC factory before they moved to New Brunswick pronounced it that way.
If I remember correctly the New Brunswick factory was built in 1965. Another myth that I hate to dispel for you is that you'll find a soft jujube. They are hard, almost like glass, when packed. The only time you will find a soft jujube is right after the molten liquid is squirted into its mold and before it is placed in the drier rooms. They remain in their molds in the drier rooms for several days until they reach a certain moisture content. I can't remember the exact percent but it is very low and it results in a very hard candy. (Editor' again: Hey, I've FOUND soft ones, so maybe things have changed!)
My first day on the job was packing jujubes (6 oz. box). I have very vivid memories of having to go into the "polishing" area and getting dollies of trays of the various colors and bringing them back to the packing line and mixing the colors on the conveyor.
- From Andrew G: I grew up in Martinsville, NJ, on Hillcrest Road, next door to Andrew and Elanor Heide. Andrew was president of Heide candy, the son of Henry Heide.
As a child I used to sled in their backyard (we were on the side of the first range of the Watching Mountains...but our backyard was all trees, theirs was grass). Of course on halloween, they gave out Jujubes! But not huge amounts...just little mini boxes.
They had a three car garage and always had three Mercedes in thegarage. They kept an apartment in NYC so they could go into the city for shows and the like and not have to come home that night.
After several health problems, Andrew died in 1995 or 1996. Elanor died less than 6 months later. The company was going downhill for many years due to poor management by Andrew's son... and the huge popularity of "gummy bears" cut into the jujube market.
I remember Andrew and Elanor as semi-surrogate grandparents; they would feed our cat treats; give me a key when I had locked myself out of the house; etc.|
- From Burt H: I do remember the jujubes from my childhood and did see that there was a change that took place. The "shape" is pretty much the same, but I remember the candies as being not as rough around the edges as they are now. The old version were never covered with petrolatum (similar to Petroleum Jelly). Their flavors in the old days were more distinct and what I would term "perfumy" in that I think they were more complex and had more "nose" than they do now.
I do seem to recall that the list of ingredients on the old "white" box did not rank cornstarch as high; that there was more gelatin in the candies, which would have made them softer. (Gelatin is more expensive than cornstarch.) As to the "mint" jujubes, look to the flavor of the green Jujyfruits...coincidence??
- What's the deal with the Jujube t-shirts? I have gotten countless messages from people who are STILL waiting for their shirts to arrive, after faithfully sending in their coupon and cash to the New Brunswick address. Well, I fear it's not good news. Many others have had their mail returned to sender, and my guess is that the office may have closed. Anyone know for sure?
- There is a Jujube tree! Also known as the Chinese Date, it produces a fruit that's suitable for cooking, baking and candying. Cool.
- Hershey Foods bought the Henry Heide company (manufacturers of the Jujube) in 1995.
- My mother (the original purple Jujube lady) says that Jujubes are always plural. There is no such thing as one Jujube. I disagree. Anyone know for sure?
- My father, the food scientist (he likes the red ones), is distraught that I have described Jujubes as the perfect food, since they are really only carbohydrate. Lighten up, dad.
He also says that Jujubes simply dry out when exposed to air and if only Heide/Hershey's would package them in little ziplock bags, all would be well. One correspondant has told me that a short blast in the microwave can soften them. Or you can order them in bulk, hermetically sealed, and revel in squishyness for weeks!
- My sister (she likes orange and purple) says that all the flavours used to taste like flowers. (Other correspondants say they tasted like perfume.) However, she now believes that the orange and purple are the only ones left that taste like flowers. The red, yellow, and green USED to taste like flowers until they changed the recipe years ago. (These are her words.) I personally am not convinced. My feeling is that the current Jujube recipe is intended to taste as follows:
but there are some serious discrepancies with the other flavours. Orange doesn't really taste like orange to me. It just tastes like Orange Jujube. Same with Purple...it's not grape, and don't try to tell me it is. It's just Purple Jujube flavour. Mmm, I love it.
Now, there is a big problem when it comes to Green. Green sometimes tastes like lime. And sometimes, as ghastly as it sounds, it tastes like mint. GAK! I have no idea why this is, and I'm not happy about it. If someone from Heide wants to write me, I'd love to know what the flavours are supposed to be and I really want to know what the deal is with Green. I have to brace myself each time I take a Green. What if it's mint? I want to spit it out! Jujubes are not supposed to be mint flavoured. Back me up on this, people.
In any case, all are agreed that the flavors now are not what they once were, sadly. But they're still Jujube enough to make them worth searching for!
- A letter from a Jujube fan and scientist:
"I have to concur - ever since that fateful day when I first encountered a mint jujube, I've been ever so leary about having another. And green is definitely my very favorite. I, too, feel that someone has played an awfully nasty trick.
I also wanted to let you know that you'll probably be getting a bunch of hits in the next couple of days - I'm working on my Master of Library Science here at the University of Western Ontario, and for one of our classes, we have been given a reference question assignment, due on Friday, March 6th. The question is: who invented the jujube? I spent 6 hours today, trying to find the answer in one of the many libraries we have here on campus! Can you imagine how few encyclopedias and other books even acknowledge that jujubes are anything other than a funky fruit?! Thanks for helping us out!
One of the things I did encounter during my searching today that I thought you might get a kick out of is this: Martha T. Gillies, in her book Candies and Other Confections (published in 1979 by Noyes Data Corporation in Park Ridge, New Jersey), writes: "Jujubes have the disadvantage of being badly protected against effects of the outside atmosphere even if they are packed in small bags which are more or less tight. In fact it is easy to notice that after a preservation period, a loss of the water and of the volatile flavorings on the surface of the jujubes occurs, which results in their progressive hardening.
Enjoy those jujubes (I always pronounced it as only two syllables - am I really wrong?)"
Editor's Note: As my sister points out, it HAS to be Joo-joo-BEE...There's a bee on the box! Fight the Canadian influence, Karen...Joo-joobs are a different animal!
looking for something to do this weekend?
why not make your own candy!
Have some Jujube lore or facts to share? Write The Jujube Lady!
all contents © 2001 marblehead