We've all seen the wrinkly, egg-shaped fruits that reside in nearly every grocery store’s dried fruit section. Those little dried fruit wonders are dates! The visual of the dried version of this succulent fruit may appear less than appealing, but the taste – and health benefits – are quite lovely.
Dates – in general – are loaded with potassium and a variety of B-complex vitamins. Date varieties are wide-ranging and have varied taste and color profiles. For example, Dayri dates are black, very tender and sweet, while Zahidi dates are drier than other dates, slightly sweet, and perfect for cooking and baking. While many dates are conventionally grown, some producers harvest organic dates.
You could say dates are the original sustainable fruit because almost all parts of the date and the date palm are usable:
- The tree trunks of date palm trees have been used for fuel and building materials.
- Date leaves can be used for weaving baskets and mats.
- Date buds can be eaten, and date seeds can be ground and roasted – think of it as a coffee substitute!
- The date palm can be used as a sugar substitute.
Fresh dates have three categorizations determined by moisture content – soft, semi-soft and dry (also known as bread dates). Fresh dates have a high source of vitamin C, contains 142 calories, while a 3.5-ounce serving of dried dates contains 284 calories. Also, dried dates have more carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, iron and protein than fresh dates.
While dates are awesome to eat fresh or out of the dried fruit bin, the fruit also is amazing in recipes. Consider conjuring up these tasty treats we’ve covered in the past: