Dates, Dates, and Dates – A Complete Guide to Everything about the Fruit
Welcome to the complete dates guide. We’re going to go into detail about everything there is to know about these fruits including types of dates, their appearance and their taste. There used to be a time where dates were a prominent sight at any Middle-Eastern restaurants. If a foreigner went to any Middle-Eastern nation, he or she would be overwhelmed by the view of various date incorporated dishes at every eatery – big or small!
However, times have since changed. Although not in the way you just perceived that sentence. While dates are still staples in Middle-Eastern cuisine, many nations have quickly followed suit by incorporating this decadent in their everyday life.
What are Dates?
If you’re unfamiliar with date fruits, don’t worry! Woodspur Farms has you covered. Odds are you’ll probably be hearing about them any day now. This article, however, can serve as a basis to help you understand the fruit and where it comes from a bit better.
So, what are dates and where do they come from? Dates are stone fruits that come from a flowering plant species in the palm family known as phoenix dactylifera, or date palm trees. The trees are dioecious, meaning each plant is either male or female and only the female plant produces fruit. It all begins when a seedling or off-shoot is carefully planted and groomed for seven years then pollinated before they are ready to produce fruit. Date trees typically reach about 21-23 meters in height and produce approximately 150-250 pounds of fruit per year. They can be harvested many times throughout a season, as the dates do not ripen all at once.
Dates are naturally sweet and have the least water content amongst all stone-fruits, making them closely related to pines and figs – although merely in appearance. Amounting for only 30%, the water content in dates is next to oblivion which means they are naturally supplied ‘dehydrated.’
Based upon historical records, it is evident that dates have been a significant dietary source for well over a couple of centuries now. It comes as no surprise then, that there are many health advantages of eating dates. The benefits of dates for men and women are substantial. Not only can dates help you lose weight, it lowers your cholesterol, reduces the risk for diabetes, certain types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and even Alzheimer’s.
What are the different type of dates?
Dates come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. We’re talking nearly hundreds on hundreds of different kinds of dates that are currently being cultivated in most parts of the world. While there are a whole lot of varieties of dates to choose from, the two most common types that you’ll come across in the United States are; Bakers Choice – Medjool dates and Mother of all Dates – Deglet Noor Dates.
What’s the difference between the two? We’ll go into more detail about Medjool dates vs regular pitted dates in our next blog, but here’s a quick 30 second summary. They differ quite a bit in taste.
Medjool dates have a sweeter taste with a thick and sticky texture, similar to caramel
Deglet Noor dates are a little more firmer, but a little less sweeter
Caloric intake from consuming either of them will be roughly the same
Medjool dates have high fructose and glucose, but no sucrose
At a glance, dates have a dried up, wrinkly exterior. This is primarily due to their low water content. Most dates appear like small fruits with a thick fleshy exterior that is, in most varieties, very chewy-like. Their color ranges based upon variations and cultivation periods, but they’re generally consumed when ripe, also known as the Tamer stage. At this last stage of maturity, the fruit turns firm with a color around the red-brown spectrum. Although they may not look the part, the taste of a date is incredibly savory and sweet, quite the opposite of it’s appearance.
What do dates taste like?
So what do dates taste like? Some are sweet with notes of toffee, caramel, butterscotch, and lemon. Their sweetness also intensifies the riper they get. This is because overtime as more and more moisture leaves the fruit, the sugar content ramps up. You can tell a date is fresh and ready to eat when it has a wrinkled exterior, looks nice and plump and has a slightly glossy sheen. How you choose to eat a date is up to you. Some choose to eat it fresh while others like their dates dehydrated. If you’re a newcomer to dates and don’t know what to expect, think of the taste of a raisin, except sweeter, jammier, more caramel-like. With hundreds of varieties available worldwide, there is a huge taste palette to pick from.
Dates can be made into a variety of ingredients and used to sweeten anything from cookies to trail mix, ice cream and protein bars to name a few.
If you want to order dates for yourself, friends or your family; call or email us today. We’d been more than happy to get you started on your dates journey! Located in the heart of the desert in Coachella Valley, our organic date farm is 3,000 acres wide. Woodspur Farms is the largest organic date farmer in the US in volume and acreage.