Dates & Ramadan
The holy month of Ramadan for Muslims is just two weeks away
and already supermarket shelves are loaded with a huge variety of fresh, dried and stuffed dates. Saudi Arabia is likely the largest producer of dates, producing one of the finest varieties there is.
Like other fruit, dates are a seasonal product, therefore the supply of fresh delicious dates is always limited. Processed dates (Tamr) and dried dates are available 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 Cultivable Groups of date exist:
- Soft like Khalas Qassim and Khalas Kharj
- Soft or Semi-Dry like Ajwa , Anbara, Mabroom, and Barni
- Dry like Ruthana, Nabtat Ali, Segae and Sukkari
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
- Plain Dates when they are fresh
- Dried Dates such as Sukkari
- Date Paste such as Soft Date Paste
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