As the holy month of Ramadan approaches us, we’re starting to think about dates more and more. But what is it about dates that make them so important during Ramadan?
Dates are the sweet and sticky fruit of the date palm tree, an impressive, tall tree that grows mainly in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. The fruit it produces can be eaten fresh or dried. There are a wide variety of types of dates, with different textures, levels of sweetness and shapes. Medjoul, Deglet Noor, Halawi, Zahidi, Khadrawi, Barhi and Sukkary dates are just some of the different types. At MyJam we have more than 100 different brands of dates that you can try: Palestinian dates, Algerian dates, organic dates, Medjoul, chocolate dates and many more for everyone to enjoy.
So, what’s the difference between the various date types?
- Medjool dates: are often considered the "king of dates" due to their large size and rich, caramel-like flavour. They have a soft, chewy texture and are often used in desserts or eaten on their own as a snack. They are also written as Medjoul.
- Deglet Noor dates: are smaller and drier than Medjool dates, with a slightly nutty flavour. They are often used in baking but can also be eaten as a snack.
- Halawy dates: are smaller and sweeter than other types of dates, with a soft, creamy texture. They are often used in desserts and are popular in the Middle East.
- Zahidi dates: are small and firm, with a slightly tangy flavour. They are often used in cooking and can be eaten fresh or dried.
- Khadrawy dates: are similar to Medjool dates in flavour and texture, but they are slightly smaller and have a darker colour. They are often used in desserts and are popular in the Middle East.
- Barhi dates: are unique in that they are typically eaten fresh, rather than dried, like most other dates. They have a soft, almost creamy texture and a sweet, caramel-like flavour.
Overall then, the differences between different types of dates are mostly related to their flavour, their texture, and their size. Some are better suited for cooking or baking, while others are best eaten on their own as a snack.
Ramadan Dates: Why dates and Ramadan go together
It’s a tradition for Muslims to break their fast during Ramadan with dates and water. But why dates? It’s because dates are a very good source of natural sugars, providing a quick and sustained energy boost. They help to replenish energy levels and provide a sweet treat after a day of abstaining from food and drink.
Dates of course are not only for Ramadan. Because they can be dried we can luckily enjoy them all year round. They are an important part of Middle Eastern cuisine, and they are often used in both sweet and savoury dishes. They are commonly eaten on their own as a snack or dessert, but they can be used for cooking and baking. The most popular way of enjoying dates other than by themselves is maamoul!
Baking with dates
Who doesn’t love Maamoul? Maamoul filled with dates is a delicious sweet treat, usually topped with powdered sugar. Maamoul is very popular for Eid, so stay tuned for a close-up on maamoul in a few weeks. You can also find date cookies, date syrup and date molasses. The last two make a great substitution for sugar and give a sweet, fruity taste. We particularly love dates covered in chocolate and filled with nuts from Elate, a delicious treat that can be also a very nice idea for gifting, especially during Ramadan. Elate chocolates and dates are handcrafted and come in luxurious packaging -you will feel very fancy receiving one of those golden boxes, trust us!
Are you craving sweet dates yet? Read on to see our list of creative ways for you to eat dates:
- Dates milkshake: made with dates, vanilla ice cream, walnuts, cinnamon and salt.
- Dates ice cream: with dates, milk, vanilla, heavy cream and more
- Coffee: you will just have to roast the seeds of the dates as you would do with coffee beans for a caffeine-free beverage
- Salad: here you can get as experimental as you like by adding any ingredients you fancy. Here’s a salad recipe with dates we like the sound of!
- Date and walnut cake: For a moist and flavorful cake, made with chopped dates, walnuts, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. It's a delicious dessert that's perfect for any occasion.
Trending Dates: Can dates really taste like Snickers?
Recently there has been a trend on social media with people claiming that if you fill a date with walnut, and peanut butter, dip it in chocolate and top it with some salt, it will taste like a snickers bar. We haven’t tested this one out, but you can do that yourself: find the ingredients here: (peanut butter, walnuts, chocolate, and dates)
Nutritional benefits of dates: Are dates good for you?
Now that we have shared with you all the interesting information about dates, let’s get to the scientific bit of them. Dates are considered a superfood because they are packed with nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins! Let’s take a closer look at their benefits:
- Rich in nutrients: Dates are a good source of fibre, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and K. They are low in fat and don’t contain any cholesterol.
- High in antioxidants: Dates are rich in antioxidants that help protect your cells from damage.
- Aid in digestion: Dates contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, that help regulate digestion and promote bowel regularity.
- Boost energy levels: Dates are a great source of natural sugars that are perfect for a quick energy boost. They also contain complex carbohydrates, which provide sustained energy.
- Improve heart health: Dates have been shown to help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Help with bone health: Dates contain minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, which are important for bone health.
- May have anti-inflammatory properties: Dates contain compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help reduce inflammation in the body.
- Aid in weight management: Dates are relatively low in calories and high in fibre, which can help promote feelings of fullness and prevent overeating.
So, there we have it, it’s clear why dates are so important and so popular. It’s a healthy, sweet snack that can be enjoyed in many many ways. If we’ve got you craving dates, then check out the wide range of date products we have at MyJam. They’re just one small section of lots of delicious Middle Eastern foods you’ll find, all for home delivery wherever you are in the UK.