Dates

By EAT-SMARTER
Updated on 21. May. 2020

Commodity dates: EAT SMARTER tells you everything you should know about dates.

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Dates...

  • ...ensure strong bones. The combination of calcium and phosphorus in dates ensures strong bones and teeth.
  • ...strengthen the heart. The B vitamins in dates with the high potassium content have a balancing effect on blood pressure. At the same time, the fiber helps to keep the cholesterol level in the blood low.
  • ...make nerves and muscles strong. With 50 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams, dates help against nervousness and muscle cramps.
  • ...promote sleep. The fruits contain tryptophan, which supports the body in the formation of the sleep hormone melatonin.
  • ...do good for the skin and eyes. About 25 micrograms of vitamin A are contained in 100 grams of dates. This promotes vision and ensures healthy skin and mucous membranes.
  • ..dehydrate in a natural way. An impressive 649 milligrams of potassium per 100 grams make dates helpful for fluid retention in the body. The mineral balances the body's fluid and stimulates kidney activity so excess water is excreted.
  • ...are only good in moderation. Even though dates contain almost no fat, they are only recommended in moderation because their calorie and carbohydrate content is very high.

What You Should Know About Dates

Those who have a beautiful date palm at home will have to wait a while — the palms need at least eight to 10 years and the right tropical climate before you can harvest sweet fruits. But the reward is about 100 years of cultivating up to 200 sweet fruits that grow 8 to 10 centimeters in length. Under its reddish-brown skin is the white interior an inedible core.

Origin

Dates originated in Africa. However, the palms with the naturally sweet fruits have long been growing in Israel, Iran, Iraq, Greece, Australia and in the subtropical regions of the U.S. (like Florida and California).

Season

Dates fresh from the tree are mainly available from October to January; dried dates, however, can be purchased all year round.

Taste

Dates taste honey-sweet, with fresh fruit having a slightly more subtle sweetness than dried dates.

Here you can find all date recipes.

How Healthy Are Dates?

Dates have a reputation as tasty and nutritious. They are rich in easily digestible fructose as well as protein and minerals. Dried dates in particular are high in magnesium, phosphorus and calcium, as well as B vitamins and vitamin D.

Although dates are quite high in calories due to their high sugar content, they do contain very little fat.

Nutritional values of dates per 100 grams  
Calories 277
Protein 2 grams
Fat 0.5 grams
Carbohydrates 65 grams
Dietary Fiber 9 grams

Shopping and Kitchen Tips 

Shopping

Dates are usually packaged in cartons to protect the delicate fruit from bruising. With fresh dates, make sure their skin looks firm and matte.

Storage

Fresh dates keep in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for four to five days. Dried dates can be enjoyed almost indefinitely if they're stored at a maximum of 35 degrees F.

Preparation

Preparing dates is simple. Just cut them lengthwise with a sharp knife once and remove the core.

What to Make With Dates

With their sweetness, dates form an interesting contrast with ham or bacon, which is why the Spanish consider this combination to be one of their most popular tapas. 

In the Arabian region, dates are appreciated finely cut in cereal dishes like steamed millet, but the fine sweetness is also good for Mediterranean zucchini vegetables or a more Northern European savoy cabbage and apple vegetable. Also worth trying is a balsamic date sauce, which goes great with grilled food.

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