Dates fruit, dried or fresh, is an excellent for snack and energy food. It has sugar, fructose and glucose that makes it very sweet naturally. Dried dates contain fatty acids, vitamins, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, protein and various other minerals. In the Middle East, dates are used to prepare all types of sweets like khazars, dates have been used as a cure for snake bite wounds. Dates also contain an abundance of calcium, magnesium, potassium and various other minerals.
Dried fruits or dates contain a large amount of sugar compared to fresh ones. Therefore it is better to use fresh dates rather than using dried ones. Fresh dates contain mostly water and have little or no sugar. Due to the water content in fresh dates, it tends to be very thick whereas the dried ones retain little moisture.
The date palm tree is native to Indonesia and Australia and mainly grows on the ground in the shade of tall palm trees. The fruit of the date palm is one of the world’s most nutritious fruits due to its high level of dietary fibers and vitamins. The sweetness of dates fruit comes from the sugar found within its cells. Due to the high level of water in the flesh of the fruit, the sugar crystallizes inside the cells of the date palm tree which gives the sweet, nutty flavor. Dried fruits are made by removing the water and sugar from the skin of the date palm trees.
The best way to preserve dates palm fruit is to store them in airtight glass containers in a refrigerator. Plastic bags are useless as they do not allow air circulation within the fruits. When date palms are exposed to air for a long period, they dry out significantly. To speed up this process, store them in an airtight container that will seal in moisture. If you choose to use the freezer method instead of the refrigerator, wrap each fruit individually in wax paper or aluminum foil to seal in moisture but allow enough space between each piece for air to circulate and to maintain their shape.
It is believed that dates are a good source of protein and carbohydrates. The figure that accompanies each individual seed contains approximately 35 calories per serving and the same holds true for the whole fruit itself. Eating a single serving of date fruit contains approximately half of the daily value of a normal sized banana. This figure is also true for the other fruits in the dessert category.
In Indonesia, dates are used as an everyday staple and are a major source of income for farmers. However, for health conscious individuals, the use of dates as a sweetener in cooking is widely popular. The most common way to utilize date syrup as a substitute for sugar is by using it in place of hot water treatment and sun drying. Hot water treatment and sun drying can actually damage the nutritional content of the fruits and are not recommended if you want to retain the highest level of nutrients available from the natural ingredients in your fruit. Using date syrup as a sweetener provides a delicious, nutritious alternative to all forms of table sugar.