A: Hello Julie,
The jujube fruit will have developed full flavor and peak sugars when they are completely dark brown. You can however consume them when they are only approximately 50% brown and green everywhere else. The fruit should feel firm to the touch when consumed fresh and will begin to lose moisture soon after the skin of the fruit has turned completely brown while still on the tree.
The fresh fruit is best stored between 52* and 55* F in a special green plastic bag that counters the ethylene gas naturally given off by ripe fruit. You may have seen the info commercials promoting this product and just so you know, it does indeed work…( can you believe it?…no bullshit info commercials). They can also be allowed to fully dry on the tree or you may pick them when they just begin to show signs of desiccation ( wrinkled skin) and dry them in a flat open basket at room temperature out of direct sunlight. You should not pull the fruit off the tree, instead you should cut the small stem as this will give you a clean sealed product.
Sometimes the fruit will show signs of premature drying before fully brown or even at the light green stage and this fruit is usually not the best for drying as the fruit should be allowed to fully color up brown if the intention is to store dry fruit. The usual cause of this premature drying is from heat/water stress and should be less of an issue as the tree becomes more established since it is a drought tolerant species.
After the fruit has been satisfactorily dried, it is a good idea to freeze the fruit for a few hours, then remove from the freezer and allow the excess condensation to evaporate before placing the fruit in the storage container (Available at Smart&Final). Once the jujube has become established (Judgment call), I only fertilize the tree once a year just after the majority of the blossoms have set fruit.