How to Choose the Perfect Date (fruit)?
Dates are one of the sweetest healthiest fruits in the world. These delicious nuts are available in many different types and varieties, so if you stand there in front of their shelf trying to decide which one to pick, you are not alone.
Dates have been a huge part of our past, brought out at Christmas with unshelled nuts and a funny nutcracker that we never got to use. They get to be in our deepest childhood memories.
Recently Dates got more popular as people started going vegan and healthy eaters. They are sweet, so serve as an excellent replacement for those wanting to reduce or eliminate processed sugar. They also make a valuable ‘binder’ where butter might otherwise have been used – like in a cheesecake base, for instance. Dates also offer a lot of essential nutrients and are a great source of potassium.
What are the fresh Dates?
Dates are the fruit of date palms, which themselves come in many more species than anyone only familiar with dried dates might think. If you’ve never eaten a freshly harvested date, they are worth trying out for their insanely rich, caramel-like taste and their soft, absolutely delicious texture.
Most dates are left to hang on the trees to “cure” and dry a little before being harvested so they’ll last longer once picked. These are the “fresh dates” available at many grocery stores, and they are also absolutely delicious.
How to Choose the Perfect Date?
Fresh dates can be wrinkled, but they shouldn’t feel hard. Look for fresh dates that are fleshy looking and have a slightly glossy appearance to their skin. Avoid dates that have crystallized sugar on their skins, since that means they are not as fresh as you might like.
For baking or where you need a large number of dates, the dried dates can be great in this field. They are super easy to chop and throw right into a scone mix or a tagine, but if you want them to be moister, you can soak them in hot boiling water before use. This makes them more ‘squidgy,’ which is excellent if you need them to act as a cover. For a more adulty treat, you can soak them in tea or brandy.
On the other hand, if you only need a small number of dates, you can spend a few dollars on notable dates to top a cake or a salad to make a massive contrast on the look, the texture and the taste of your masterpiece.
When to Buy Dates?
Since palm trees develop best in the desert, the U.S. crop of dates is produced in the deserts of Arizona and California. Then the harvest takes place between September and March.
Producers markets in Arizona and Southern California may have fresh dates in season and may be found at specialty stores and, usually, Middle Eastern markets, since dates play a vital role in the cuisine of many Middle Eastern countries.
In Iran, which is one of the best producers of dates, the harvest for early varieties like Mazafati starts in the third week of August, while other cultivars like Piarom are harvested from first to third week of October. Generally, the season for Iranian Dates lasts from mid-August to September.
So, to sum up… if you want to buy dates in large quantities for feeding the kids and snacking, and you don’t want to stuff them, drier consistency is not an issue, and you can buy Sayer dates to consume freely without feeling guilty about spending too much on them.
For luxurious treats and stuffing, where dates are the star, you can use the Mazafati dates all the way.
What do you think? Have you found any other better or cheaper variety? Share your experience with us in the comments below.