A member of the palm family Arecaceae, the date palm or date is harvested for a sweet fruit that’s used in a number of dishes and cuisines throughout the world!
The Date Tree
The date has a long and varied history, stretching all the way back to prehistoric and ancient civilizations. It is believed that the date palm came from the Fertile Crescent region, which is between Mesopotamia and Egypt.
The species can be found widely in Northern Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and many tropical locations around the world.
These trees can get up to 75 feet tall, and either grow by themselves or in clumps with several other trees and an intricate single root system.
The Varieties Of Date Palm
As noted, there are several different species of the date palm. This includes:
- Phoenix caulks, or the dwarf date palm
- Phoenix atlantica, or the Cape Verde palm
- Phoenix canariensis, native to the Canary Islands
- Phoenix dactylifera, the common date palm
- Phoenix paludosa, the mangrove date palm
A High-Sugar Fruit
Dried or fresh, one thing you’ll recognize for certain about dates is the fact that they’re incredibly sweet. In fact, as dates dry out, dates actually get even sweeter! They range from red to yellow in color, though the dried version of the fruit looks a bit like a large raisin.
The fruit is often used as a sweetener in many desserts, because of how naturally sweet the fruit is. They’re also often used in recipes featuring nuts, oats, or grains.
Date Bar Dessert
The date bar dessert is a great after-dinner treat!
To make your own date bars at home, you’ll need:
- 1 3/4 cups of old-fashioned oats
- 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of cold butter
- 2 1/2 cups of chopped dates
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 3/4 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
Take a look at this recipe to finish preparing your sweet date bars!
A Cultural History
Because date palms have been part of human culture for thousands of years now, the plant and fruit itself have quite a long cultural history.
In fact, dates are referenced often in both the Bible and the Qur’an. It’s believed that the “land flowing with milk and honey” mentioned in the Bible is actually referring to date honey, rather than honey from bees.
A High-Fiber Fruit
Besides being a yummy dessert sweetener, dates also have some pretty great health uses. The fruit has nearly 7 grams of fiber in a 3.5-ounce serving, meaning that they’re a great way to add a boost of fiber to your diet. Though they’re high in calories, the fruit also has several minerals and vitamins, such as magnesium, copper, and vitamin B6.
Grab A Date For Dessert
The perfect daytime snack or after-dinner treat, the date’s long history has made it quite a popular fruit around the world! If you haven’t gotten the chance to try them, add dates to your grocery list and give this sweet fruit a go.