Dates (Phoenix dactylifera)
Main Facts about Dates
The date palm is cultivated in dry tropical regions worldwide for its edible sweet fruit. Male and female plant are required for fruit. There is archaeological evidence of date cultivation in eastern Arabia in 6000 BCE. The plant is native to the Persian Gulf area of the middle east, was one of the few crop plants that could survive desert conditions, and became a reliable source of food in an otherwise inhospitable climate. One date has almost everything you need in a meal and helps you feel full after eating it. It is the first thing muslims eat when breaking a fast. Dates are mentioned in the Bible and the Koran, and important in Indian mythology. The Arabs say that there are as many uses for dates as there are days in the year.
Using DatesThe water in which fresh dates are soaked for a while is a drink given to relieve alcohol intoxication. The milk in which clean and fresh dates are infused is a very nourishing and restorative drink especially during convalescence from fevers and smallpox. The sweet pulp of the date fruits is useful in dysentry. Date fruits are used as an ingredient in various aphrodiasiac and tonic confections. They are also useful in asthma. Paste made from ground seeds of said to be applied for opacity of cornea and to the head to relieve headache and hemicrania. Dates are high in sugars and potassium, good source of fiber and Iron. The pharmacological studies indicate the immense potential of this plant in the treatment of conditions such as diarrhea, gastric ulcer, skin disorders, cardiovascular disorder, inflammatory ailments including liver and kidney disorders, microbial and viral infections, also exerting antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties . Several studies indicate that consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of several chronic diseases.
Caution!Negative side effects related to the date palm are relatively rare, although some people may experience an allergic reaction to the fruit.
Cooking with DatesBest to soak overnight before eating. Good to use in smoothies instead of a sweetener. Dates are eaten fresh or used in prepared foods and desserts. In addition to the edible fruits, seeds can be ground into an edible flour, traditionally used to make bread in times of scarcity. Seeds roasted and ground into powder make a beverage like coffee called “date coffee”. The flowers are also edible, used in salads or dried and ground as a condiment.
How to grow DatesThe date palm is a perennial plant adapted to arid environments. It has unique biological and developmental characteristics that necessitate special propagation, culture, and management techniques.