English Name: Dates
Botanical Name: Phoenix dactylifera
DESCRIPTION: A samll brown edible sweet sticky fruit that grows on a tree called a date palm.
ORIGIN: Some experts believe that date palm first originated in Babel Iraq while, others believe that it originated in Dareen\Saudi Arabia. An old Arabic legends tells of the Date palm’s creation: “After God finished molding man from Earth; he took the remaining material and shaped it into a date palm which he placed in the the Garden of Paradise”.
Since the existence of man over 50,000 years ago date palms and their fruits have been instrumental to humans. The Mesopotamians cherish the trees versatility and value, its sweet fruit became an essential part of their diet.
There are over hundred varieties of dates with hundred different names, with varying degrees of sweetness and storage qualities. The date was made mention in ancient scripts and it is referenceed by western and middle eastern religions. They are mentioned in the Quran and Bible. Islam regards the date palm tree as the tree of life which was also made mention in the story of Genesis.
The date is not as well known in the West as other fruits such as the apple but, it is very popular in the Middle East and the, Sahara Desert in the Arabian and North African countries because the date palm tree grows well in the dry desert heat. Date had so much value as it was compared to rice, wheat, and potatoes in some cultures.
Major producers of dates include: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria. Dates are now grown in Southern California, South western Arizona, Southern Peru, North of Las Vegas, Nevada in parts of Mexico, northern Chile in South America. etc.
NATURAL BENEFITS: If you’re looking for fiber, potassium, or copper. Look no further than dates. Dates are rich in many vital nutrients like vitamin B6, reduces blood pressure, stroke, boosts the heart and brain health, contains anti-inflammatory properties, and relieves constipation.
USES: The palm offers “three hundred and sixty” uses that includes: needles, thread, lumber, mattresses, rope, baskets, and other household items.
Dry and soft dates are usually eaten out of hand, can be used alongside as a suffed filling, can be added to fruit salad and savory dishes. Also be used to prepare juice and Jallab (a type of syrup popular in the Middle East).