Core Meaning–Thomas Vo

Posted on January 8, 2012

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This is not a Chinese Apple either.

The jujube, or red date, is a South Asian fruit. It is eaten fresh as wells as dried. It is used to make tea in China and Korea and also used in desserts and in pickles. It was domesticated by 9000 BCE has over 400 cultivars.

For most of my life I have called them “Chinese Apples.” Although most of the English speaking world refers to them as jujubes or red dates, I was not aware of these names. The fruit starts out as a crunchy green prune-sized orb, surprisingly sweet, then transitions into a mottled brown apple shaped thing, surprisingly sweeter, and good to eat out of hand, then, with time, they mutate and become wrinkled, and dark brown all over, surprisingly sweeter still, and are good for cooking red sticky rice or used in sâm bổ lượng.

We have always had a good supply of Chinese Apples at home. First we had the early picks of the season, sometime around autumn; these were the green crunchy ones. These are the kind of things you eat while standing in front of the fridge wondering what you should cook for dinner. A few weeks later the brown spotted ones, sweeter ones will begin appear. These you refrigerate and eat at as snacks. Finally as the last weeks of autumn approach we become inundated with the fruit, and they must be dried and stored. I am sure there is some proper technique to drying the apples out and storing them. But we didn’t do that. We just left them in the sun.

My mom cooks with the dried Chinese apples seldom. Although she knows how to make dishes with them, they were often dessert, and we didn’t really eat dessert, so the apples, dried and preserved and stored for later use, ended up in the trash because we, quite simply, wouldn’t use them.

Sophomore year of college. I got shipped off with all the basic amenities: clean laundry, packs of instant ramen, a first aid kit, pen and pencils, and a plastic grocery bag full of Chinese Apples. My mom wanted to get rid of them, thinking I was a hungry college student, decided to slip the bag into my laundry basket. But know I had a bag of Chinese Apples to get rid of. I ate the green ones while contemplating what to heat up for dinner. I at the spotted ones as a snack. That handled about half of the bag.

A half bag of shriveled, brown, dried Chinese Apples. They would go unattended, turning the bottom drawer of my fridge into a no fly zone, every time I grabbed a water, or some juice, it would be there,

reminding me of their presence, reminding me that I should do something with them.

But I don’t do anything with them. On move out day they end up in the trash.

The jujube, or red date, is a South Asian fruit. It is eaten fresh as wells as dried. It is used to make tea in China and Korea and also used in desserts and in pickles. It was domesticated by 9000 BCE has over 400 cultivars. This is the history of the jujube, or red date. Not the history of the Chinese Apple.

You can see more of Thomas Vo’s posts at: http://thomasdangvo.com/

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Posted in: Student Posts