Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dates


As far back a 50,000 BC date palms have flourished in some regions, especially in Southern Mesopotamia.  The date palm had many uses, even the stones were used as camel food or to burn for the fire.  Dates were  then cheaper than grain, due to their great productivity.  Dates are generally grown from Morocco to India.  In the Middle East, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Iran and Egypt are the important date producing countries.  

Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera ) is esentially a crop of dry-sub tropical areas, usually with irrigation.  Palms are in full bearing by about 11 years and begin to bear after 4-5 years. An average yield is 50 kg of fruit, per tree year. 

Dates are divided into three groups: soft (fresh), semi-dry and dry depending upon the softness of the ripe fruit. dates are available all year round for semi-and dried varieties. 


"Candy that grows on trees" is a phrase often applied to dates. 

Nutritional Value
  • Dried dates have fair source of  vitamin A and B.
  • Good source of calcium, phosphorus, iron and potassium and cooper
  • 60-65% sugar, good quick energy food.
Buying and Storing Dates
  • Dates should be soft, lustrous, amber-colored with a smooth skin.
  • Avoid hard, dried-out fruit.
  • Soft (fresh) dates are perishable but can be kept several days in a refrigerator
  • Semi-dry and dry will keep indefinitely if properly stored.
  • Don't store dates (semi-dry) near flour or any cereals, as they could get infested. 
  • Do not store near onions or any odorous item as they tend to absorb odors.
To Prepare 
Simply remove pit (stone) and leave whole, cut in half or coarsely or finely chop depending upon the recipe.

To Use and Serve

A versatile fruit to be used in savory and sweet dishes, in stuffing, in breads, cakes, scones, muffins, rice and curry dish.

It can be included in with morning cereals, in salads, with other fruits.

Soft dates are particularly delightful to served with a cheese platter; made into sweet meats; stuffed with almonds, marzipan and cream cheese fillings, made into chutney, desserts. 

Dates goes well with other fruits, nuts, chocolate, cheese, cream and cottage cheese, rice and tapioca. 

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