In the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan -may his soul rest in peace- was the founder of the country’s agricultural renaissance, and he was fully dedicated to the growth and cultivation of date palms. He totally devoted himself for the purpose and cultivated dates beyond the borders of the oasis where they traditionally grew which played a great role in the flourishing dates throughout the nation. This great achievement turned the desert into an abundant paradise for its dwellers, and thanks to that, the UAE today brings this ancient super fruit to a new global market, which made the UAE the leader of date’s cultivation in the world. Late Sheikh Zayed’s dedication was the price that he paid to gain the UAE’s success in this domain today, for this sector is one of the most vibrant contributors to the economic growth of the UAE.
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.
Date palm requires high water although it can withstand prolonged dry and drought. It prefers constant moisture in the soil but sensitive to water logging. There is no need of watering in rainy season and in case of heavy rains ir floods, water needs to be drained out as it may damage the plantation. in high water table areas, 5 to 6 irrigations may be required per year where as it requires frequent irrigations after planting. Water requirement depends on the
HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING DATES
Dates are probably the healthiest of all dry fruits. A good source of antioxidants, fibre, proteins, minerals and a range of vitamins, dates can keep diseases at bay, boost brain health and give you glowing skin.
Everyone, irrespective of age and gender, can reap the health benefits of dates, provided they consume it daily. While, for pregnant women, date consumption shortens the labour duration, for older adults it reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s diseases.
Regular intake of dates has proved beneficial for improving cognitive function and regulating blood pressure. Although dates have a high carb content, they boast a low glycemic index. The presence of fibre helps slow down the carb absorption process, preventing blood sugar spikes.
The fibre in the fruit also keeps your digestive system healthy. With high levels of antioxidants, dates can prevent oxidative stress caused by free radicals in your body.