Dates, A Deeper Look at our Favorite Super Fruit
May 1, 2018 | Raquel King
Dates are one of the tastiest treats nature has to offer, but people are also beginning to acknowledge their rich nutritional value. For the better part of 100 years, California has been capitalizing on the date fruit, yet the Middle East continues to be the leading producer of several hundred varieties of dates we consume on a regular basis.
According to archaeologists, the oldest date palm fossil is estimated to be 50,000 years old. The cultivation of dates for food and other useful products can be traced back to 6,000 B.C. Egyptian hieroglyphics often use date palms to indicate years or the passing of time, as well as to indicate kindness and sweetness when it comes to personality traits.
Dates in history and around the world
Last year, it was calculated that Egypt produced approximately 1.7 million tons of dates. Iran, Algeria and Saudi Arabia were not far behind, each producing over 1 million tons. That’s quite a lot of date fruits! It is commonly known that dates are sought after food by health-conscious consumers, but this is especially the case in the Arab world, as dates have been deeply embedded in the culture for many centuries.
Dates and date palms as symbols today and throughout history
Dates are said to represent gratitude, generosity, and abundance. In the Middle East they are often thought of as a holy fruit, they are almost always served to guests, and can conveniently be used for an assortment of dishes. Bread, desserts, and puddings are just a few of the common treats that are prepared using the versatile date fruit.
The ever-expanding admiration of dates has spread throughout the world, especially here in the United States. The more we learn about this amazing super fruit, the better we feel about eating them, and the more we can enjoy learning about the amazing culture surrounding dates. So, cheers to health, wealth, sweetness, and the many other benefits that dates have to offer!