Table of content A-Z

 

date

 

Botanical name: Phoenix dactylifera


Dattel

 

Date palms are among the oldest cultivated plants. They originated in the area of the Persian Gulf. Today, date palms are found in the entire Afro-Asian dry zone from Morocco to Pakistan. Date palms are important oasis trees; they require moist soil and strong sunlight to grow. A date palm may grow to be 100 years old, but it attains its highest productivity at about 30 years of age.

 

Availability

Both dried and fresh dates can be bought all year round, but primarily dried dates are sold in Germany.

 

Appearance, taste, characteristics

Similar to plums, dates are oval-shaped and oblong and they have a yellow-brown, reddish or dark-brown skin. Inside is the white, yellow or brown pulp. In the middle is a stone with a groove on its long side. Dates have a very sweet and intensive flavour. There are said to be up to 1500 different varieties, and they are categorized according to the texture of their pulp: there are soft, dry and half-dry varieties.

 

Ingredients

Due to their low water content, dried dates are quite high in calories. They contain predominantly carbohydrates and are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals.

 

100 g contain:

 

 

Date, fresh

Date, dried

Energy (kcal)

114

285

Water (g)

n.a.*

20

Protein (g)

1

2

Fat (g)

<1

<1

Carbohydrates (g)

27

66

Fibre (g)

3

9

Vitamin C (mg)

58

2

Vitamin A (RE) (µg)

2

6

Folic acid (µg)

21

17

Potassium (mg)

350

659

Sodium (mg)

6

5

Calcium (mg)

21

66

Magnesium (mg)

21

51

Iron (mg)

0.8

1.9

*n.a.: no data available

 

Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

In Germany dates are sold mainly as dried fruits. Dried dates can be kept for up to a year.

Fresh dates are harvested just prior to maturity and then flash-frozen. They are thawed shortly before they are sold.

 

Fresh dates can be kept for about 5 days in the refrigerator.

 

Dried dates

Commercially, one differentiates between "natural" dates and "processed" dates. The natural dates are dried in the sun or in an oven. Thus they retain a degree of moisture that is favourable for their storage.

 

Processed dates are first briefly heated (pasteurized), then fumigated against pests, sorted for uniformity, washed, treated with hot air, packaged and fumigated again. As a result of the hot-air treatment, sugar seeps out and the surface of the fruit takes on an attractive, shiny look. Some dates treated in this way are also given a glucose coating.

 

Dried dates taste sweet and are excellent for eating raw.

 

Keep the dried fruits in a cool place with not too much humidity.

 

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

Fancy dishes can be prepared with dates. They make tasty delicacies combined with sweet or hearty ingredients. Filled with cheese, combined with cheese and bacon, or in savoury salads, they can serve as starters. They are much more common, however, in baked goods, fruit salad or in muesli, as a sweet filled with marzipan and nougat or covered with chocolate. In the countries where they grow they are also made into syrup or alcoholic drinks. They are also an ingredient in a certain type of bread, "bread of the desert".

 

 

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