Your guide to the delicious Arabian dates

Dates go through different stages of ripening once the fruit begins to develop. The dates transition from the inedible green khalaal to three edible phases: the red-yellow Besr, the translucent moist Rutab, and the final dry and wrinkled tamar stage. As the fruit ripens, its moisture content drops and makes it less susceptible to insect damage or rotting. This is why the low-moisture tamar is sold throughout the year compared to the higher-moisture stages of Besr or Rutab, which should be eaten fresh after harvest or frozen if you plan to eat them later in the year.

Rutab are only available fresh at that petrifying peak of summer when most UAE residents have scurried away to cooler climes. If you choose to stay, then you are blessed with dates whose tears of sweet juice well up from their delicate ruptured skins. Rutab spontaneously burst in your mouth to release an intense fudgy pulp that you could enjoy plain like a soft chewy caramel, or once you invest in the mandatory ice cream machine, you could spoon over home-made coffee and cardamom ice cream.