2012 2015 and this post continues to be one of my most popular ones! I didn’t expect this. Well no hot dates here unless you want a link to recipes to bake some nice date squares or some bacon wrapped dates!
The kind of dates that this post is about are the ones that grow on date palms. I imagine that this post gets many visitors interested in the other kind of dates. Well if you arrive here for that reason, you are better off to go to other sites for online dating, to meet other singles, find love, relationships, a soulmate, marriage, girlfriend, boyfriend or whatever. But if you are here to learn about the amazing date palm, read on a bit. And I’ll continue to add to this post over time with more information about dates. I am slowly going through the book, The Date Palm: From Traditional Resource to Green Wealth (Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research)
Dates are an amazing food, full of nutrients and of many varieties. The date palm as food has been used by people in the Arabian Gulf for over 7500 years. In 2001 world date production was 5.4 million tons and increasing at about 5% a year. The top five date producing countries in 2001 were Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Iraq.
Though if you want to fix a spinal injury, you better go for the blue M&Ms!
Here’s another blog post on dates with further information in its comments including a link to a map showing where the dates market is (look at the x in the middle of the map). I’m going shopping for dates on 8 August and will report on my success. I want to get a selection of the very best quality dates.
The Kuwait Times has this article saying Kuwait dates are available early this year but the best are yet to arrive.
Kuwaiti dates make an early appearance at markets
Published Date: July 28, 2009
By Ben Garcia, Staff writer
KUWAIT: Although traditionally, Kuwaiti dates are made available only on the first week of August, as a reversal of custom they can now be found in plenty this year. However, if you want the finest Kuwaiti dates, you should wait till the first week of August or September experts advised. At this early stage, dates can be purchased at a low price at any date shops in Kuwait. Yesterday, Kuwait Times found them for sale at the market. The shop owner admitted that the best Kuwaiti dates are yet to arrive. Experts noted that dates become edible when allowed to ripen naturally.
Traditionally, Kuwaiti dates are sold only in August, September and October. After these months, the next ones (dates) are imported from Jordan and Iraq. However, Iraqi dates, according to the shop owner, are transported through Jordan. They are then called Jordanian dates.
The 1990 Iraqi aggression has played a big role in barring any trade with Iraq. “No dates from Iraq are allowed to enter Kuwait,” whispered the owner who reminds me of history. “There are lots of edible dates from Iraq but we have a problem of importing them directly,” he said.
The finest dates from Saudi Arabia have begun arriving in Kuwait since early July, but it will be available till December. From January to June, the varieties available in Kuwait are mainly from the Americas, Europe and the rest of date exporting countries like Tunisia and Guatemala. Since it can be imported from other countries, dates are available here the whole year round.
Dates play a significant role in Islam, especially during the month of Ramadan. The Holy Quran has clearly advised believers to use ‘tamer’ (dried dates) while breaking fasts. It is part of the Iftar tradition to dates in a variety of ways. Diwaniyas and meetings all over Kuwait are incomplete without sweetened dates served to their visitors.
There are several kinds of dates available in Kuwait. The most popular types are the Birhi, Ikhlass, Makboosh (pressed), Sukari, Ajwa, Sigie and Khudary. On the other hand, the United Arab Emirates is proud of their Makhtoomi (red) and Birhi types. The UAE boasts of the biggest date farm in the world that covers an area of 1,321 square hectare with more than 62,000 palm trees, a UAE website claims.
The most expensive but also best-selling date is a type called Iklas. It is imported from Saudi Arabia. The period between August to December is considered the ‘date season,’ where the fruit is more affordable. If you wish to purchase a variety of dates, Souq Ratab (Tamar), located near Gahzali Street in Shuwaikh is just one of the many places in Kuwait that exclusively sell different types of edible dates.