Dates are one of the most well known and nutritious fruits in the world. They have great nutritional value and their health benefits have been chronicled for well over a thousand years.
Dates are very popular in the Middle East and greater Asia. But they aren’t very common in Europe or Central and North America.
However, due to their immense demand, Dates and now found in supermarkets and produce shops all over the world.
In this article, we are going to discuss what do Dates taste like and how to eat dates, dates nutrition, dates calories, where to buy dates, are dates healthy, etc.
Table of Content
What is the Date fruit?
The first question that might come to your mind is, “What are dates and what do they taste like?” The most literal answer is that dates are a type of stone fruit that grows on the Date Palm tree, belonging to the family of Arecaceae, and scientifically named as Phoenix dactylifera. Date Palm trees are indigenous to the Middle East, where they have been cultivated for thousands of years.
So, what are the dates?
Essentially, dates are sweet, wrinkled fruit with a single seed and fleshy covering. Dates grow in bunches high on top of Date Palm trees. They are naturally dry, so they can be stored and preserved for long periods of time.
Dates are ideal for quick and healthy snacks, and they are also widely used in many kinds of desserts. They have huge health benefits if eaten regularly.
What do Dates taste like?
Dates Taste can be described in general as sweet tasting. The taste of dates is quite complex and has many depths and layers. There is a very sweet taste with earthy notes.
Moreover, the taste of Dates is very similar to caramel, so much so it’s hard to believe that you’re actually tasting a fruit. The Dates taste is also similar to chocolate with hints of cinnamon, butterscotch and toffee.
Their texture is also quite interesting as it’s very wrinkled on the outside and quite chewy on the inside, somewhat like a caramelly raisin.
Dates have a very high fructose content, which makes them intensely sweet. Since they are naturally dehydrated and have low moisture content, this sweetness is concentrated and much more amplified.
So as a descriptive answer, dates have a very sweet caramel taste, which some believe tastes like a cross between a prune and a fig, with a chocolate and cinnamon undertone.
What are the Varieties of Dates?
There are many varieties of dates. The most popular ones include,
Barhi – It is a kind of syrupy rich tasting date. It is the softest and most fragile. It is small to medium in size.
Ajwa – It is a soft, luscious and fruity variety. It has a fine texture and is from Saudi Arabia. They are cultivated in Madina, a city in western Saudi Arabia.
Dayri – It is a heavy and sweet flavored date.
Deglet Noor – It is a sweet and delicate flavored, semi-dry date. It is regarded as a ‘true’ date for its flavor.
Halawi – It has a sweet and honey-like flavor.
Medjool – It is a rich, deliciously sweet and large sized date, which is a little fibrous and has high moisture content. It is the variety that is grown in North and Central America.
Zahidi – It is a sweet and sugary flavored semi-dry date.
With all these different varieties having different tastes and qualities, the next question that comes to mind is, Where to buy dates?
Where to Buy Dates?
Dates are harvested in both the summer and winter. Which means that they are always in stock throughout the year. Different varieties come from different parts of the world, however, due to modern trade, you can most likely find any kind of date you want at your nearest supermarket.
In North America, the Deglet Noor and Medjool dates are the most common and the ones you’re most likely to encounter at a supermarket.
How to Eat Dates?
Eating dates is very easy. Simply bite into it, remove the seed, and enjoy! Fresh dates taste the best eaten raw. Dried dates also retain their flavor for a really long time.
Except for this, dates can be enjoyed in many other ways. There are stuffed dates, which have been pitted, and in place of the seed, there are almonds, raisins, cashews, or other nuts, instantly turning it into a great party snack.
You can also make your smoothies more delicious by adding dates to your everyday smoothie recipe. A simple yet amazing recipe is adding milk, bananas, fresh dates, and some cardamom. This is an amazing all-natural healthy smoothie start off your day.
Another great way to enjoy dates is to incorporate them into your baking. Add dates to your fruit cake recipe to elevate it and make it healthier. Add it to cookies, bread, scones, the possibilities are endless.
You can also make delicious salads with dates. Add pitted and chopped dates to green salads with nuts and cheese for the ultimate delicious and healthy lunch.
As you can see, dates are not only delicious and healthy, but they are very versatile and have the potential to be used in every aspect of cooking.
Where Do Dates Come From?
Dates have been a staple for the people in the Middle East and Indus Valley for thousands of years. There is significant archaeological evidence that date cultivation has been around in Arabia since the 6th millennium BCE.
It’s hard to pinpoint the origin of the date tree because of it’s prolonged cultivation. But it probably originated from the fertile crescent region between Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Dates are widely cultivated across Africa and the Middle East, The Horn of Africa, South Asia and have been adapted for cultivation in many tropical and subtropical regions all over the world.
Nutritional Information about Dates:
Dates are highly nutritious and are very beneficial to health. They have high amounts of fructose, which provides instant energy as well as many essential nutrients necessary for maintaining health.
Some people believe dates, due to their high sugar content, might be bad for health. But actually, fructose is a natural form of sugar that is easily digestible for the body. And if consumed in moderation, dates can have a huge positive impact on your health.
Let’s look at some data about dates nutrition. Deglet Noor dates are one of the most popular varieties of dates, and they are also one of the most common ones to come across.
Here, the nutritional values for an average-sized Deglet Noor date are given below:
- Calories: 15-20
- Fat content: 0.03 grams
- Total carbs: 5.33 grams
- Fiber: 0.6 grams
- Sugar: 4.5 grams
- Protein: 0.17 grams
- Vitamin B-6: 0.012 milligrams
- Iron: 0.07 milligrams
- Magnesium: 3 milligrams
- Potassium: 47 milligrams
Medjool dates are another variety, which is very common. They are similar in nutrient content and essential elements to The Deglet Noor.
So, it can be seen that dates contain many essential nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, dietary fiber, as well as vitamins and essential minerals. So eating dates regularly fulfills your daily requirement for nutrient elements.
In turn, these nutrient elements help your body produce more energy, restore lost muscle and tissue and also help maintain your immune system to prevent diseases.
Thus, eating dates regularly in moderate amounts can help you maintain your health and keep you free from diseases.
Health Benefits of Eating Dates
There are significant health benefits in eating dates. They provide a very well-rounded source of nutrition, as well as a high amount of fiber.
It is very helpful in maintaining gut health and keeping the digestive tract healthy. Due to their high fructose content, dates also supply an instant boost of energy.
Are dates good for you? To answer this question, let’s have a look at some of the best health benefits of eating dates:
They contain high polyphenol
Polyphenols are a kind of antioxidant that helps protect the body against harmful complex compounds, inflammation and prevent toxic substances from harming the body. Dates contain more polyphenols than most other fruits and vegetables.
They can be a substitute for sweets
Dates can be a great alternative to sweets while also providing essential elements and nutrients. So they can be a great snack to meet your sweet tooth cravings while also being healthy.
They have High Fiber Content
Dietary fiber is an essential but often overlooked component of the diet. Dietary fiber helps improve gut health and prevent diseases. Moreover, fibrous food plays a great role in helping maintain weight.
They have high amounts of potassium
Potassium is an essential electrolyte that is needed for maintaining the equilibrium of the body. Potassium is essential for cardiovascular health. It is also an essential mineral for maintaining bone rigidity and various other metabolic functions. So dates having high potassium content can be a great source of potassium for the body.
They are a great source of iron
Dates have high iron content. Iron is an essential mineral required for the body. Iron is used to form hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin binds with oxygen and transports it throughout the body. Deficiency of iron can cause anemia. So dates provide an excellent supplementary source of iron.
They can help promote natural labor
Studies have shown that dates have the potential to ease and promote late labor in pregnancies. During pregnancy, dates can keep the blood sugar level balanced. Again dates contain compounds that act similarly to oxytocin, which helps regulate the hormonal balance, encouraging natural labor and also reducing labor duration. Dates contain tannin, which has shown to facilitate contractions and help in the delivery.
They are a healthy substitute to sugar
Dates can easily be made into date paste and can be used in recipes as a healthy alternative to white sugar. By substituting sugar with dates, you get the same amount to sweetness with the delicious caramel taste of dates along with their added nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. So it’s much healthier than regular white sugar.
So as you can see, dates are greatly beneficial for health. So adding them to your diet is a no brainer for some easy nutrition along with great taste.
The FAQs About Taste of Dates
Why do dates taste so good?
Dates have a high fructose content and low moisture. So they are intensely sweet. As this sugar is very much liked by the brain, it is registered as a desirable food. So your body is more eager to receive it, and the taste is magnified. This is why dates taste so good.
Do dates taste like caramel?
Dates have a very sweet sugary taste. Their taste is close to that of caramel.
What do Ajwa dates taste like?
The Ajwa is a special variety from Saudi Arabia. It is a soft, luscious and fruity variety with a fine texture.
What do Medjool dates taste like?
Medjool dates have a rich, almost caramel-like flavor and a soft and chewy texture.
Do dates taste like raisins?
Dates are similar to raisins in a way, but there are some differences. Both are sweet, but dates have a more heavy, caramelly flavor and tasteless fruity than raisins. Again, dates are chewier than raisins.
What do fresh dates taste like?
Fresh dates have a very earthy and sweet flavor. Dates always taste the best when they are fresh.
Do dates taste like chocolate?
Dates have a very sweet sugary taste. Their taste is closer to caramel than chocolate. But dates have a very chocolate-like undertone in their flavor.