We love dates. I mean, who doesn’t? These were probably our favorite fruits since childhood! At least for most of us. And the healthiest too. Now that’s something new, isn’t it? While we have always reveled in the taste, seldom have we considered the incredible benefits of dates.
What Are Dates?
Also popularly known as date palm (Khajoor/Khajur) in Hindi, ‘Tawarikh’ in Arabic and ‘Palmier’ in French. It is a flowering plant species from the palm family. It is usually cultivated for its sweet fruit.
Scientifically called Phoenix dactylifera, the date fruit is believed to have originated in Iraq. The leaves of the date tree are 4 to 6 meters in length, with spines that have about 150 leaflets. The seeds of the fruit are soaked and ground for animal feed. And their oil is used in cosmetics and soaps. The seeds, at times, are also added as an additive to coffee beans.
While fresh dates are available from August to December, one can purchase dried dates any time of the year.
History Of Dates
For thousands of years, the date fruit has been the staple food of the countries in the Middle East and the Indus Valley. As per records, the ancient Egyptians had used the fruit to make date wine. Date cultivation happened in modern day West Pakistan, way back in 7000 BC. Date consumption eventually spread to South West Asia and Northern Africa and Spain. Subsequently, they were introduced to the West.
According to fossil records, the date palm has existed for as many as 50 million years.
Fresh Dates Vs Dried Dates
What is the difference?
Fresh dates are soft, and dry dates, well, are harder. They contain less moisture than fresh dates.
Then, we have dried dates, which could be fresh as well. These are fresh soft dates that are deliberately dried over a period.
From a nutritional standpoint, though there is no big difference between fresh dates and dry dates, there is some difference between fresh dates and dried dates.
Dried dates have double the amount of carbohydrates than fresh dates. They are also a better source of fiber. Dried dates also contain higher levels of calcium and iron, but fresh dates win in vitamin C.
You can consume dates any way you want.