To discribe a date is very easy: sweet, energetic and nutritious.
Its name comes from the Greek word δακτύλος ( « daktilos »), which means « finger. »
The date is the fruit of the symbolic date palm of arid climates, probably native to North Africa or Arabia, first cultivated in present-day Iraq about 3,000 BC. It was of great importance in the ancient peoples, for Chaldeans and Arabs it was the tree of life, in Egypt it meant fertility, for the Greeks the triumph, and always a good source of carbohydrates for millions of people. A date palm tree can live up to 200 years.
Dates are named in Sura no. 19 of the Koran. This Sura is dedicated to Mary (Maryam, in Islam) and in Verses 25,26, says « Shake the trunk of the Palm tree toward you and you will fall into ripe and fresh dates, eat, drink and refresh your eyes. » It was a measure to make delivery easy and more comfortable, avoiding pain. To relieve the pain of newborns, the father chews a date and wet the baby’s mouth with his juice, thus avoiding the pain. The Koran narrates how Mary, the mother of Jesus praises the sweetness of the date during her flight to Egypt, or how, at the time of delivery, she shakes the trunk of the Palm tree to eat dates that give her strength and help her in childbirth. It is now known that this fruit reduces the pain of contractions and increase milk production.
The date takes between 5 and 6 months to ripen. It crosses 4 stages or ages whose names are: kimri, khalal, rutab and tamar.
Kimri: or green date, is the only inedible stage. This is the date that has just been born as a result of the fertilization of one of the three carpels (stigmas) of each female flower. In this stage, the date has its highest content of water and lower of sugars of all its life. As curiosity, those dates not fertilized (they are recognized because they have no bone inside) can develop this stage but here they do not pass, in fact can never reach maturation.
Khalal: begins here the « partial » maturity of the date. This stage is easily recognizable as the fruit changes from green to yellow or red, easily recognizable at a distance (in fact it is the image that almost all we have of a palm with dates). At this stage the date may be edible in some varieties, but its high tannin content (up to 6%) makes it very acidic, rough and astringent to the palate.
Rutab: This is the state in which the date presents the greatest range of flavors, textures and aromas; It still retains its water and frequently secretes a kind of honey or molasses.
Tamar: last stage of life of the date in branch. It has lost much of the water and possesses up to 80% of its weight of sugar. It is the state that is generally known and that is in the market. It is very wrinkled, is drier and sweet, but less juicy and aromatic.
It is the basis of food in many regions of North Africa and Southwest Asia, making it one of the most useful fruits in the world.
The date is not a dried fruit, like figs or raisins, but is allowed to dry in the sun on the same tree. In the West, the date is consumed dry, but in many places of origin they consume fresh and soft, which they call « desert bread ». In the Arab countries the dates are consumed with milk and in desserts. It is also often an essential ingredient of salty dishes, mainly stews and roasts. In India they are used to prepare chutneys and curries.
It is a natural sugar ideal for vegan cakes and sweet recipes.
High energy value: given its large number of carbohydrates (sugars), mainly fructose and glucose, which are gradually released in our body providing energy and prolonging the feeling of satiety.
Vitamins: especially group B, which among other functions facilitate the use of sugars, proteins and fats in the cells, promote the correct health of the nervous system, relaxing and inducing sleep. Dates are rich in beta-carotene which is transformed into vitamin A in our body. Vitamin A is essential for the vision, good condition of the skin, hair, mucous membranes, bones and for the proper functioning of the immune system, in addition to having antioxidant properties.
Minerals: dates are one of the richest fruits in minerals, especially they contribute potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium among others.
Its high potassium content increases diuresis, improving fluid retention disorders and high blood pressure. Magnesium is necessary for proper transmission of nerve impulses and heart rate. On the other hand calcium participates in the correct bone formation and different metabolic reactions.
Fiber: also contain a high amount of fiber, mostly soluble, which reduces cholesterol levels and less insoluble fiber, which prevents or prevents situations of constipation.
Protein: 2% protein, exceeds the content of most fresh fruits, except for avocado.
You can find dates in our products: chocolate, truffles, cakes
Dates do not top the list of common food allergens, but that does not mean they can cause allergy and manifest as hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing.
Storage conditions: If it is in its last stage or stage (tamar), then it keeps very well for months or even years if it does not get wet. Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
Best before: 1 year after purchase