Did U Know… ‘Dates’ are not just events we get primped and proper for, when a significant other comes to our door, picks us up and treats us to a lovely evening out on the town?
At just about 55 Calories, DATES are a deliciously sweet and chewy fruit, which are jam packed with nutritious Potassium and Fiber… But, be careful because these little guys contain about 80% SUGAR, which is made noticeable to our taste buds during the sun drying processes! Notable for their giant seed that is perfectly nestled directly inside the miniature fruit, part of the ‘Date‘ experience is nibbling off the flaky outside crust, before biting into that rock hard seed. These little fruits actually come from a palm tree, the Date Palm, whose original cultivation has been traced to the lands surrounding Iraq, with a time stamp of 50 Million Years. Today the top 3 Date producers in the world include: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
In fact, the Date has been a staple food in the Middle East for thousands of years, estimations place its origination back to 4000 BCE and their cultivation can even be traced back to Ancient Arabia as far back as 6000 BCE. Since traders used this fruit as a trading tool, it’s popularity spread throughout many cultures; in the United States, the date was first introduced by the Spaniards in the 1700s.
This simple little fruit actually carries with it as much cultural significance as it does religious weight. It is mentioned more than 50 times in the Bible and over 2o times in the Qu’ran. Dates are quite the important crop in the Mesopotamian region, as the Islamic culture uses Dates along with Yogurt and Milk, as the first foods consumed for Iftar during the religious month Ramadan. Iftar is the evening meal consumed by Muslims, known as the moments following a days sunset, when tradition calls for breaking their fast.
In the Arabian Gulf region, Saudi Arabia for example, the date palms have been used as a grand part of the landscape, representing the nations growth and vitality to the world. That tiny fruit symbolizes more than just Potassium and Fiber, you see they are served along with Arabian coffee to as a gesture of hospitality to guests.
So don’t forget to set out a plate of Dates for your Holiday Guests as a fine gesture of hospitality and peace!