Date from about 6000 BC, Phoenix dactilifera, also known as date palm, is an aromatic flowering palm species in the evergreen palm family, Arecanaceae, grown primarily for its highly perishable edible fruit also known as dates. It bears fruit on a wood-like shrub which grows to about six feet high and has reddish-brown spiny leaves. The fruit of the Phoenix dactilifera palm is an open book-like oblong with two to nine oval leaflets that are long and pendulous. Each leaf has a black spot at its tip and the edges of the leaves are slightly rounded. The date fruit forms on a smooth waxed platter, which is eaten like candy and dates are considered to be one of the best sweet fruits in the world. The sweet taste of date palm dates is very common in India and Pakistan and dates are often served as an important part of a breakfast.
Although the sweet taste of dates is common throughout the globe, the most favored types of dates in the United States are the dandruff-fruits. Dried dates are very popular in India and Pakistan as they make for a delicious desert after the morning jogs. Dried dates can be stored for months and then used in salads, desserts, sandwiches and even ice cream. They are also an important staple of the Indian diet since they are easily digestible and taste great.
Although there are many varieties of fruits which can be eaten directly from the trees, dates are considered to be the sweetest of them all. On the bright side, these fruits do not have any adverse effects on the body, unlike other noncitrus fruits. In fact, dates are beneficial to health. The main benefit of consuming dates is that it helps lower bad cholesterol levels and improves heart conditions.
Dates are sweeter than any other fruits. Due to this fact, they make excellent combinations with other fruits or spices. In particular, Middle Eastern cuisine makes heavy use of dates and its varieties. Fructose from dates is used in many Middle Eastern cuisines such as pizza, hummus, falafel and samosas. In addition, dates are used in various dessert recipes. For example, Middle Eastern desserts such as raisins, dates and walnuts have high sugar content, which makes it very palatable.
There are many benefits of using dates and they are highly nutritious, which is why they form an important part of a diet. However, there is a downside to dates; their high sugar level makes them very fattening. So if you want to lose weight, you should replace your high calorie sweet with low calorie sugared fruits like strawberries, prunes, watermelon, pineapple, banana and dates. You can even substitute white sugar for white sugar. In short, dates are healthy but they are best consumed in moderation.
The good news is that because of their high sugar content, these fruits can be kept on the shelf for a long time. For example, a package of dates will last for about two months before they spoil. However, if you choose to freeze or store them, you should keep them in a cool dark place and not exposed to direct sunlight.