dried blue dates, blue jujubes, blue jujube dates, black dates
Traditional Chinese Name:
藍枣 (lán zǎo)
This ingredient is warming in nature and sweet to taste.
Looking to start your Chinese soup pantry? Watch this video on “The 7 basic Chinese soup pantry ingredients“.
Look Ma! They’re blue! And yes they are. Definitely more common in Asia, they are also sometimes called black dates. Some black or blue dates are made by simply smoking their red counterparts. And you can definitely taste that smokey-ness when you soak them in teas or use them more pure. They taste slightly charred, bur fragrant, and are a more deep sweet versus the dried red dates. Sometimes, blue and black dates are used together with the red dates in teas and soups, or you can use blue dates as they are.
How do I prepare it?
- You can use directly from its packaging and drop directly into soup or teas. Be sure to remove the seeds of the dates, as the seeds are super fiery and heaty, creating excess yang in the body. The dates themselves are already slightly warm, so we want to keep the heat in check.
Where can I buy it?
In most wet marts in Hong Kong
- Available in your Chinese herbalist or Chinese medicine store
- I’ve also seen this readily available in bulk packages as Chinese supermarkets
What is the cost?
- A package of around 30 dates cost $40-$50 HKD
- There are varying prices of blue dates depending on its rarity and quality
- Blue and black dates are more expensive than their red counterparts
- Dates are known to assist in maintaining healthy blood pressure and assist the stomach and spleen in poor appetites
It is also commonly used to address stress in drinks and teas
- Due to its sweetness, it is soothing to the throat and used to treat sore throats
- Dates are an excellent source of Vitamin C
- Dates are slightly warming and ideal for soups and teas where you want to create more warmth
- Dates help with blood circulation, tonify blood and Qi
Be sure you are buying this ingredient from a reputable source
- Store in a dry, cool place in a seal container to prevent mold or spoilage
Herbal teas is an amazing category of Chinese drinks that are more purposeful and intentional in its creation and consumption. They aren’t always medicinal and have some more common ingredients that we always drink because they taste so good!