Everything about Dates - RatinKhosh Co.
Everything about Dates

Everything about Dates

Ratinkhosh R&D Team

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Date fruits are the sweet flavor of the dessert and one of the oldest cultivated foods in human civilization. As people began eating healthier foods and going vegan, dates got more popular as a natural sweetener which is full of nutrition.

This tasty fruit comes from one of the most vicious plants in nature. It’s a vital food source for people living across the Middle East and North Africa. And the trees bearing it have been growing alongside some of the world’s most ancient rivers for thousands of years. Although the date palm, with its lush, sweet fruit, is even more than that.

In this article, we are going to describe this delicious fruit as clear as possible. You can find out more about date fruits on our other blog posts on Fresh Dates vs. Dried Dates, How to Choose the Perfect Date (fruit) and How different industries use dates in their products. 

 

What do we have here?

  • Date Etymology

  • History of Dates

  • What are Dates?

  • What do Dates Taste Like?

  • Botany

  • Habitat

  • Characteristic

  • Morphology and Maturation

  • Dates Nutrition Facts

  • The Health Benefits of Dates

  • How to Use Dates?

  • How to Store Dates?

  • Our Date Products

 

“Date” Etymology [1]

“Fruit of the date-palm,” c. 1300, from Old French date, from Old Provençal datil, from Latin dactylus, from Greek daktylos “date,” initially “finger, toe.” Said to be so-called because of fancied resemblance between oval fruit of the date palm and human fingers, but some say it is from the similarity of the plant’s leaves to the palm of the hand.

History of Dates

History of Dates

Fruit of paradise! They truly are.  Biting through the thin paper skin of a Date to the juicy sweet meat of it, no one could not appreciate the wonders of these delicious fruits. One of the “fruits of paradise” in Islamic tradition which were mentioned in the Quran, can be used as an ingredient or a whole snack. As God instructs the Virgin Mary to eat dates while giving birth to Jesus.

Fossil studies show that the date palm has existed for at least 50 million years.

For many generations of Egyptians, dates have been viewed as a symbol of fertility, growing up almost miraculously along rivers and oases in the driest deserts. The tree has been described in bas relief, on monuments, and coins. Its shape is even believed to have inspired a style of columns in Greek architecture.

Greek mythology relates the date palm to the immortal Phoenix. In Natural History, Pliny the Elder describes the phoenix bird, who would raise again at the top of a date palm. After 500 years, the bird would catch fire from the flames of the sun and would be reborn from its own ashes. Some myth has it that the date palm would die and come back to life again along with the bird.

Date Fruit History

prisoners being marched through groves of date-palms to Assyrian headquarters. Stone, Assyria artwork, ca. 640-620 BC.

What are Dates?

So, what are dates anyway? A date is somehow one of the stone fruits, meaning it has an individual seed surrounded by an external fleshy fruit (like mangoes, peaches, and olives). They’re developed on date palm trees, so where you would typically see coconuts, picture big bunches of dates!

There are a lot of date varieties grown around the world. The most popular ones are Sayer, Mazafati, Rabbi, Piarom, Dayri, Deglet Noor, Halawy, Khadrawy, Medjool, Thoory, Zahidi, Ajwa, Sukkary [2].

Read more about the difference between Mazafati, Piarom, Rabbi, Sayer and Zahedi Dates.

What are Dates?

What do Dates Taste Like?

Dried dates are wrinkled outside, but sweet, delicious and sticky inside. They have a rich intensive caramel taste, so much that you can’t believe you are eating fruit. Much more like a chocolate, with notes of. Cinnamon, butterscotch, and toffee.

Botany

Phoenix dactylifera, generally known as date or date palm, is a flowering plant species in the palm family, Arecaceae, grown for its edible, delicious fruit. The date palm has been appreciated from most distant antiquity and may have originated in what is now Iraq.[3]

 

Habitat

The date palm is a plant of contradiction. In its original homeland, it has to have its toes in its head in the fire of the sky. It grows in sandy or saline soils so long as a sufficient supply of underground water is accessible. The large leaves can survive a warm, dry climate, and adjust the tree to stand long slopes without rain, but the palm needs a supply of standard water.

Date Palm Characteristic

Characteristic

Date palms grow tall like a tree, about 100 feet, using one trunk or a few trunks sprouting at a cluster. But the plant doesn’t produce woody tissue to sustain itself; instead, it has logs, around 16 inches in diameter, made of fibrous stems that overlay one another. One leaf may develop 150 leaflets.

Morphology and Maturation [4]

The growth and evolution of the date fruits include many external and internal alterations.

These changes are usually classified based on the change in color and chemical compositions of the fruit, as five different stages of fruit development:

1- Hababouk

2- Kimri

3- Khalal

4- Rutab

5- Tamar

Here is a brief description of each stage:

1- Hababouk

Begins soon after fertilization and continues until the kimri stage. It usually takes four to five weeks to complete and is characterized by the end of two unfertilized carpels.

2- Kimri

At this stage, the fruit is pretty hard, the color is apple green, and it is not proper for eating. This stage lasts from a small green berry to an almost full-sized green date fruit.

3- Khalal

The fruit is physiologically mature, hard ripe, and the color turns completely from green to greenish-yellow, yellow, pink, red or scarlet depending on the species. It lasts from three to five weeks depending on varieties, with a moderate average weekly rise in fruit weight.

4- Rutab

At this stage, which is two to four weeks the apex tip starts ripening, changes in color to brown-black and becomes fluffy.

5- Tamar

This is the stage when the date fruits are fully ripe and change the color from yellow to black-brown and gets darker with time.

The fruits on a brunch do not ripen at the same time, they need almost a month to get fully ripen.

 

Dates Nutrition Facts

Here is the nutrition fact of a 28g serving of dates.

The Health Benefits of Dates

If you look into the nutrition facts of an ordinary package of dates, they seem more like a sugar bomb than a healthy snack. But are they really as nutritionally insipid as these labels make them look?

Of course not! When you look into them by the modern scientific lenses and ancient wisdom, they look like a holy super-food of huge value.

Excellent Source of Essential Nutrition

Dates have a great nutrition profile. The dried ones have more calories than their fresh fruit. Most of these calories come from carbs in dates. They contain many crucial vitamins and minerals in addition to a high amount of fiber.

A 100-grams serving of dates provides these nutrients:

  • Calories:277
  • Carbs:75 grams
  • Fiber:7 grams
  • Protein:2 grams
  • Manganese:15% of the RDI
  • Potassium:20% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 14% of the RDI
  • Iron:5% of the RDI
  • Copper:18% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6:12% of the RDI

Rich in Fiber

Consuming enough Fiber is essential to your overall health and Dates are a great way to increase your fiber intake. Fiber can improve your digestive health by reducing constipation.

The fiber in dates is also beneficial for controlling blood sugar. It slows digestion and can help prevent the high spike of blood sugar levels after eating.

The Health Benefits of Dates

An Excellent Source of Antioxidants

Dates provide several types of antioxidants that can help you reduce the risk of diseases. Antioxidants such as:

  • Flavonoids: Flavonoids are the great antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer.[5]
  • Phenolic Acid: they are known for their anti-inflammatory features and can help lower the risk of heart diseases and cancer.[6]
  • Carotenoids: they are proven to improve heart health and may reduce the risk of eyes diseases.[7]
  • Natural Candy

Dates are a great source of fructose, the natural sugar found in fruits and veggies.

This is why they are so sweet and have some sweet caramel flavor.

You can use them as a wonderful substitute for white sugar, to feed your sweet tooth with healthy mother earth candies.

The best way to use dates as an alternative sugar is to turn them into pastes. But remember, although they are high in healthy nutrients, they are still high in calories and carbs.

May Promote Natural Labor

Dates have been studied for their potential to ease and promote late-term labor in pregnant women. Their role in pregnancy is likely due to compounds that connect to oxytocin receptors and seem to simulate the effects of oxytocin in the body. Oxytocin is a hormone that induces labor contractions during childbirth[8]

How to Use Dates?

Dates have a sweet caramelly flavor that goes well with almost everything, but if you need some starter inspiration, here are some serving tips:

  • You can eat the dry and soft dates out of hand without any add-ons.
  • You can stuff the pitted dates with fillings such as Cheese, Nuts, chia seed, chocolate, diced fruits, parmesan, and fresh basil. Yum!
  • You can also chop and add them to your desserts and salads (like fruit salad) to create a range of sweet and savory flavors.
  • Add them to your bakery and cookies as a sugar alternative.
  • Blend them in your smoothies before the gym to hit the scale.
  • Make a syrup from them and use it as a food dressing and beverage sweetener. Like this date milkshake:

How to Use Dates?

How to Store Dates?

You can store dates in an airtight container either in the fridge for more than a year, or at room temperature for a few months. They have the lowest moisture content of any whole fruit, only 27%, meaning they’re naturally dehydrated! As they age, the tasty sugars in the date will slowly move to the surface, producing little sugar white spots. Don’t worry, these are not molded.

Our Date Products

Want to use this delicious heaven fruit in your daily diet? Take a quick look at our high-quality products made with 100% natural Dates with no added sugar, gluten-free and healthy:

– Mazafati Dates

– Sayer Dates

– Piarom Dates

– Rabbi Dates

– Zahedi Dates

– Chopped Dates

– Date paste

– Date Syrup

– Date Balsamic Vinegar

 

[1] https://www.etymonline.com/word/date

[2] https://palmyradelights.de/en/17-different-varieties-of-dates/

[3] https://www.britannica.com/plant/date-palm

[4] https://ucanr.edu/sites/fruitandnut/files/73683.pdf

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28641164

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25863633

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3992385/

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280989

 

Everything about Dates

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