Everything you need to know about dates

Dates are a delicious high-fiber snack. Dates have a sweet honey-like flavor and a meaty sticky texture. Because the seeds of the dates are already removed, you can eat them immediately. Nice and easy!

History

A date is the fruit of the date palm, or Phoenix dactylifera, which is a dioecious palm. Fossil records show that the date palm has existed for at least 50 million years. No wonder then that the cultivation of dates is very old as well, and probably started in the Middle East.

There are more than 400 varieties of dates. The most well-known varieties are: Balah, ‘Adjwa, Galaas, Raziez, Ganiezie, Maskaani, ‘Anbara, Mawaadj-ie, Badj-iera, Gharra, Halawaa, Salmie, Hajjaanie, Zaghloel, Bint ‘iesh, and Samaani.

Dates grow in clusters on female trees. Inside the fruit is a hard seed. The date is a drupe. They are harvested in November and December. The fruit is eaten fresh or dried.

Production

Date trees or date palms can grow up to 65 or even 75 feet tall, with multiple stems able to advance from the same root system. The leaves are compound and can grow up to 3 meters long. Such a compound leaf consists of about 150 sub-leaves, each about 30 cm long and 2 cm wide.

Pollination of the flowers is done in natural conditions by the wind; in modern commercial plantations this is done almost entirely manually: in this process, one male plant provides enough pollen to pollinate 50 female trees. Since male plants never bear dates, their only function is to pollinate the flowers. On some plantations, no male plants are grown at all: around the time of fertilization, male flowers are offered for sale in local markets.

Dates are mainly grown in North Africa and Arab countries, but also in California and Australia. Types of dates that are most commonly traded are Deglet Nour, Hallawi, Khaleseh and Medjool. These come predominantly from Egypt, California and Israel. However, dates are also an important export product for a country like Tunisia, Iran, Pakistan and Algeria.

Applications

Dates grow in clusters on female trees. Inside the fruit is a hard seed. The date is a drupe. They are harvested in November and December. The fruit is eaten fresh or dried.

In cooking, dates combine well with nuts, for example almonds, and cream cheese. They can be used in cakes and desserts, as well as in combination with savory dishes such as tagines (fragrant stews), curry dishes or as a filling for fish, meat or poultry. Dates are rich in vitamins A and B, as well as iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Fresh dates contain significantly more vitamin C and less sugar.

Date seeds are soaked and ground up for animal feed. Their oil is suitable for use in cosmetics and dermatological applications. The oil contains lauric acid as well as oleic acid (41%). They can also be processed chemically as a source of oxalic acid. Date seeds are also ground and used in the manner of coffee beans, or as an additive to coffee.

(Dried) fruits

12 August 2021

Partnership Tradesparent and Agiboo: taking Commodity Management to the next level

Read more

10 Interesting Facts About Sugar

Read more

Commodity Risk Management and Price Risk
Using Agiblocks to Hedge Your Bets

Read more