Popular throughout the world as a super food, dates are the sweet fruit of the date palm tree cultivated across the globe predominantly in tropical regions. Scientifically known as Phoenix dactylifera, these fruits are rich in essential nutrients, antioxidants and fibre. Dates are one of the most versatile foods that can regulate the digestive process as well.
How to eat?
Widely consumed as a dried fruit and often enjoyed with Arabic coffee, dates are being utilised in different forms nowadays. In addition to being eaten separately, date dhibs, made from date syrup, has become a favourite among the health conscious as a natural sweetener that can substitute sugar. Also, sugar made from dates is great for baked dishes and desserts.
What are the health benefits?
Dates contain huge amounts of natural sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose, which provide an instant boost to our energy levels. They also have high fibre content that benefits our digestive system. The various antioxidants found in dates reduces the risk of several diseases. The immense health benefits associated with these sweet fruits have transformed them into one of the best ingredients for muscle development, brain health, and bone health.
Where to buy?
Due to the rising popularity of dairy and gluten free diets, there has been an upsurge in demand for dates. Nowadays, you can easily find them in supermarkets, grocery stores, and online websites. Despite the easy availability, great care should be taken in the selection of dates as their sticky surface tends to attract various impurities. Hence, you should only consume dates that have been processed and packaged properly at a quality facility.
How to choose the best dates?
Once the date fruit begins to develop, dates go through different stages of ripening. They transition from the inedible green phase to two edible phases: the translucent moist ‘rhutab’, and the final dry and wrinkled ‘tamr’ stage.
- Fresh dates: These dates are available just after harvest. Containing high moisture, fresh dates are usually wrinkled, but soft to touch. If you want to buy fresh dates, then look for dates that are plump and have slightly glossy skin.
- Dried dates: As the date fruit ripens, its moisture content drops making it less susceptible to insect damage or rotting. Sold all throughout the year, these ‘tamr’ dates have low flesh and high natural sugar content. The best course of action when buying dried dates is to avoid the ones that have crystallized sugar on their skin (except Sokari dates) since that means they are not quite as fresh as you might like. It doesn’t matter which variety you choose, always opt for organic dates as they are grown in a natural environment – free from harmful chemicals.
- Filled dates: If there’s something even better than organic dates, it is organic filled dates! As a golden rule, always choose a trusted brand when buying filled dates. We recommend Bateel’s wide selection of stuffed dates that are stuffed with the goodness of dried nuts like pistachio, almond, hazelnuts and more. If you fancy something zesty, then you can try their gourmet dates with fillings of candied fruits like ginger, orange peel, lemon peel.