This is your all-inclusive guide to Dates covering: taste, nutrition, and benefits, where to buy and which kind, how to store and even how to use dates in recipes!
WHAT ARE DATES?
Dates are a fruit that grows on a palm tree in a desert climate. Dates have been around for thousands of years. Fossil records show that the date palm existed for at least 50 million years. Archaeological evidence reveals that they are believed to originate in Iraq and were cultivated since ancient times from Mesopotamia to Egypt.
Medjool dates are plump, juicy, and sweet with a rich caramel flavor. Known as the king of Dates, the king of fruits, and the fruit of kings.
NUTRITION AND BENEFITS
Dates are very healthy and have a lot of nutrients and minerals. They are high in natural sugar but low on the glycemic index. They’re higher in potassium than a banana. They have high dietary fiber; 1/4 cup of dates provides 12 percent of the daily requirement, vitamin B 6, iron, magnesium; which may help reduce blood pressure. Dates are also high in polyphenols which is an antioxidant that can protect the body from inflammation.
There are hundreds of varieties of dates growing around the world; however, the most commonly available dates are Medjool and Deglet Noor. Medjool dates range from brown to black in color. They have a moist texture and a sweet taste. Deglet Noor dates have amber-colored skin and a more elongated shape. They are firmer and drier than Medjools with a slightly nutty flavor.
But the Medjool date is considered the “king of fruit” and the “fruit of kings” as this particular variety was considered so special that it was only reserved for royalty.
HOW TO BUY AND WHICH KIND?
You can buy dates at your local Middle Eastern/Mediterranean store or Grocery Store Chains.
There are many different grades of Medjool dates. Each grade can be used in various manners. If you were serving it to guests, you’re going to want to have something larger but If you are going to cook with it then the size doesn’t really matter. They will all have the same flavor profile large or small tight skin or loose skin.
HOW TO STORE DATES
Store in an airtight container either in the fridge (up to a year) or at room temperature (a few months). How can they stay good for this long?
Dates have the lowest moisture content of any whole fruit, only 30%, meaning they’re naturally dehydrated! As they sit and age, dates will continue to dry out and their sugars will slowly come to the surface, creating white spots. These spots are sugar. Don’t mistake them for mold.
If dates don’t smell good or they start to show signs of decay, the dates have expired.
If you have a large number of dates, it’s best to portion them out into small containers before freezing—they will thaw beautifully and retain their sweetness.
HOW TO COOK WITH DATES
Fresh dates are delicious and are eaten as they are or as a snack. They pack lots of nutrients. There are many other ways to enjoy them, from savory applications like slow-cooked Moroccan tagine to sweet desserts like cakes, bread, and cookies.
IF DATES DRY OUT
Just soak them in hot water for 15 minutes or so to reconstitute. Then you can add them to your smoothies, chop them on salads or top off a bowl of oatmeal.
They just need to be soaked in hot water for 10 minutes to reconstitute first.
HOW TO PIT DATES
Simply slice the date lengthwise and the pit will easily pop out.
Our Dates are Grown, Picked, and Packaged by Palestinians in Palestine.
For more information about the Ziyad family-owned date farm in Jericho Palestine visit: https://palestinedates.com/about/