The nutritional value of jujube fruits Ziziphus mauritiana Lamk was processed through an optimized traditional cake procedure. The characteristics of jujube fruit polysaccharides from an accession known as P3 were determined for each of the 5 ripening stages. Therefore, the content of the Alcohol Insoluble Materials, Water Soluble Polysaccharide and Galacturonic Acid was determined at each ripening stage. The degree of methylation (DM) of jujube pectins was less than 50% therefore was classified as low methoxylated pectin (LM). Using the 3rd and the 5th ripening stage, the impact of the drying and cooking was evaluated on selected nutritional characteristics, including vitamin C, total phenolics content and antioxidant capacity. Remarkably, using the fruits from the 3rd stage, the drying process decreased the vitamin C content (74.5%, p<0.05) whereas an increase of 20% (p<0.05) was observed for the cake. Interestingly, the antioxidant activity was unchanged during the drying process. In contrast, after the cooking process the phenolics content and the antioxidant capacity had both increased, by 64% and 30% (p<0.05) respectively.
Overall, our results indicated that stage 3 fruits would exhibit higher nutritional qualities than stage 5 fruits. We strongly recommend stage 3 fruits of accession P3 for food applications, including jujube cake processing.