Saudi Arabia is the home land of the Date Palm Tree. With more than 10000 years of age it is one of the oldest trees in the world. Many nations transferred the palm trees from Saudi Arabia (used to be called Arabian Peninsula) to other places in the world after they became amused by its charming beauty and its endless generosity. For example, the great Alexander was the first to introduce palm trees to Pakistan. And with the entrance of the Kalifa Abdualrahman Aldakel to Spain (Andalusia) the first palm tree entered Spain. This led to its availability in America; because it was introduced to Mexico for the first time by the Portuguese and then it reached the United States during the 18th century.
In Islam, dates have received more attention than any other fruit. For instance, Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) encouraged Muslims to break their fast at the sunset during the month of Ramadan by dates and water. He once said that if a person has some dates in his house then he is not poor.
Today, Saudi Arabia is the second largest producer of dates in the world.
Saudi Arabian date fruit is well known for its deliciousness i.e. if the date is tasted once; a person will quickly become a date lover. We have to mention though that there are more than 300 types of dates in Saudi Arabia with each having its own different taste and texture.
Like other fruit, dates are a seasonal product, therefore the supply of fresh delicious dates is always limited. However Palmwonders provides processed dates (Tamr) and dried dates all year round. Dates can be classified as soft, semi-soft and dry dates. Chewy dry dates keep longer and can be used for 'survival food' on long trips or on hiking.
Dates freeze extremely well, so you can put them in your freezer and enjoy them year round.
Dates are oval-cylindrical, 2.5-5 cm long, and 1.5-2.5 cm diameter. When dates are unripe, they come bright red to bright yellow in color, depending on the type of dates. Dates contain a single seed about 2-2.5 cm long and 5-7 mm thick.
Three main Cultivar Groups of date exist:
- Soft e.g. Khalas Qassim ( تمر خلاص القصيم ) and Khalas Kharj ( تمر خلاص الخرج )
- Soft or Semi-Dry e.g. Ajwa ( عجوة ), Anbara ( عنبرة ), Mabroom ( مبروم ), Medjool, and Barni ( برني )
- Dry e.g. Ruthana ( روثانة ), Nabtat Ali ( نبتت علي ), Segae (صقعي) and Sukkari ( سكري )
The type of fruit depends on its nutrition, shape and taste. Dates ripen in four stages, which are known throughout the world by their Arabic names kimri (unripe), khalal (full-size, crunchy), rutab (ripe, soft), tamr (ripe, sun-dried). Dates come in the following four forms in the market:
- Press Pack such as Khalas Qassim ( تمر خلاص القصيم )
- Plain Dates when they are fresh
- Dried Dates such as Sukkari ( سكري )
- Date Paste such as Soft Date Paste ( تمر معجون )
A 100 gram portion of fresh dates is a premium source of vitamin C. Since dates contain relatively little water, they do not become much more concentrated upon drying, although the vitamin C disappears in the process. Each date provides about 20 calories, and is a good source of carbohydrate, fibre, and potassium, also providing some calcium and iron along with other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts. Dates do not have significant amounts of fat, cholesterol, protein, or sodium. Here are some examples of the nutrition of some type of dates:
- Khalas (100g):
- 82.9 g sugar
- 2.9 mg vitamin C
- 1.59 % protein
- 0.93 % fat
- Sukkari (100g):
- 66.7 g sugar
- 80 u vitamin A
- 2.9 mg vitamin C
- 1.32 % protein
- 1.73 % fat
- Segae (100g):
- 79.4 g sugar
- 2.4 g vitamin C
- 2.07 % protein
- 0.96 % fat
Use of dates and other palm tree products
Dates are an important food for travelers in desert or in the mountains because they provide them with a complete nutritious meal (see the above nutrition fact of dates). Beside that, dates are easy to carry and no cooking is needed to prepare them for eating because dates are often eaten out-of-hand.
Dates can also be used for cooking. They can be chopped and used in a range of sweet such as cakes and other dessert dishes and other savory dishes (see examples of our recipes).
Dates are also processed into paste and date syrup called 'dibs' which most likely are used in some recipes.
Recent innovations include chocolate-covered dates and date juice.
Date palm leaves are used for making huts, mats, screens, baskets, brooms, large hats, and fans.
Palmwonders will try in the future to provide some of these products to the online customers if there were a good demand for them.
Date fruit products
Check out our range of soft & dried dates and date paste products at our date fruit shop.
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Last Updated: September 13, 2010