Dates have been a staple food item throughout the Middle East and parts of Asia for thousands of years. Originally grown near modern day Iraq, the date palm has many varieties now cultivated in warm arid climates around the World. Common uses for dates are to be consumed as a stand alone snack, pitted and stuffed, chopped and used in sweet and savory recipes (Tajine), or can be added to breads or desserts.
Although dates are often very sweet and full of sugar, they are actually classified as a low glycemic food which makes the date a perfect food for diabetics who cannot tolerate a sugar spike. This food substitution can satisfy a sweet tooth as a healthy replacement, in moderation.
Deglet, Barhi, Medjool, Zahidi
Dates mature and are harvested in the Fall (late September through November).
The date palm is dioecious, meaning there are separate female and male plants. The dates are naturally wind pollinated, but many commercial growers achieve pollination manually. As the dates ripen they are often covered by a sac or netting to keep out unwanted pests or birds keen to steal ripened fruits.
North America – CA