Chinese apples have many names and different varieties of fruit, depending on which country they are found. Each country has its version of the Chinese apple. For example, China regarded the Chinese apple as Malus prunifolia, an apple-bearing fruit. Dutch referred Chinese apple to an Orange (Citrus Sinensis), while British English called it Pomegranate (Punica Granatum), Ribery (Syzygium luehmannii) in Australian English, and Ziziphus jujuba in Vietnamese. No matter what you call it, no matter what it looks like, all of them are fruit-bearing trees that give a lot of benefits.
Taxonomy is the science of naming, describing, and classifying organisms and plants such as the Chinese apple. Since the Chinese apple has no definite name as it differs from one country to another, its hierarchical classification also varies, depending on where it originated.
- Malus prunifolia- belongs to Rosaceae (Rose) family
- Pomegranate- belongs to Lythraceae family, subfamily Punicoideae
- Ribery- belongs to Myrtaceae, a genus of Syzygium
- Jujube- belongs to the Rhamnaceae family and genus of Ziziphus
Chinese Apple Varieties
Malus prunifolia (Chinese apple) is a rounded to broadly spreading canopy-like tree that produces corymbs of aromatic, white five-stellate flowers from April to May, then bears yellow pomes during summer. This fruit-bearing tree is in the apple genus (Malus) that’s local in China. It belongs to the Rosaceae (Rose) family, with around 43 to 76 species. Carl Ludwig von Willdenow first described and published Malus Prunifolia, then Moritz Balthasar Borkhausen revised and reclassified it in 1803.
Punica granatum (pomegranate) is a small fruit-bearing shrub with spiny branches and usually lives long (up to 200 years). It belongs to the Lythraceae family, subfamily Punicoideae. It was first described throughout the Mediterranean region and introduced into Spanish America in the late 16th century and into California by Spanish settlers in 1769.
Syzygium luehmannii (Ribery) is a medium-sized coastal rainforest tree native to Australia, commonly grown as an ornamental tree. It belongs to the family of Myrtaceae, a Genus of Syzygium. It has small pink, glossy, lance-shaped leaves that turn green when growing. The flower blooms in November or December then bears a red, pear-shaped fruit from December to January.
Ziziphus jujuba (Jujube) is a species in the genus of Ziziphus in the buckthorn family of Rhamnaceae. It is a small, droopy branched, slightly spiny, deciduous tree that is native to southeastern Europe. It bears small round fruits with a seed-containing pit that turn dark red to purple, slightly wrinkled when ripe. Carl Linnaeus named it in the binomial system as Rhamnus zizyphus in his book Species Plantarum in 1753. In 1768, Philip Miller (English Botanist) called it Ziziphus jujuba in his Gardener’s Dictionary, based on Tournefort’s spelling for the genus name.
” An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Although it is a common cliché, it is true up to this date. Chinese Apple fruits, whatever variety you have, are an excellent source of essential nutrients. Generally, they are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It helps is prevent dreadful diseases because of the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-aging properties of Chinese apples. Eating fruits is one of the best ways to improve overall health. It helps to boost your immune system, thus reducing the risk of degenerative and contagious illness. It is also more economical while having its healthful benefits:
- Malus prunifolia – rich in calcium, iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and B2. Malus has acid contents that are good for the body, such as malic, citric, succinic, and quinic acids.
- Pomegranate- protects our body from illness with its nutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory effects. It contains carbohydrates, sugar, fiber, potassium, vitamin K, and folate.
- Riberry- is rich in folate, three times more than blueberry. It is rich in manganese and calcium. I contain anthocyanin, a potent antioxidant good for cognitive function and protects us from cancers, heart diseases, and Alzheimer’s.
- Jujube- one serving of raw Jujube contains 79 calories, 0.2 g of fat, 1.2 g of protein, and 20 g of carbohydrates. It is known to increase strength, stimulate appetite, improve sleep, and enhance liver health.
Chinese Apple Dishes
Jujube is used to make candies, coffee, puree, soup, or used as vinegar. You can also make jams and sweet desserts out of Malus. Also, Ribery is widely used in Australia to make delicious banana Ribery bread, sauces, syrups, glazes, confit, and chutney. Jujube is chewy when dried and eaten like Dates. Fruit is a crucial part of our daily diet. We can eat them whole, cut up, or puréed, or consumed as juices. Some dishes also use fruits as the main ingredient. However, cooking and processing fruits are generally not recommended as they could lose their nutrients. Ultimately, no matter how we want to eat Chinese apples raw, cooked, or processed, it will never fail to give us healthful benefits.