As you might have gathered Nutmeg is in the desert and it is not that warm so she has some time to add to all the really useful food information in this blog. So the question about dates came to mind… Here are the facts:
The Date Palm (scientific name Phoenix dactylifera), also known as the Medjool palm is a tall, beautiful and majestic tree that is known for its edible sweet fruits, the dates. The tree belongs to the Arecaceae family and the genus Phoenix. The Date palm produces true real dates. It is the second most known and most useful palm tree in the world after the Coconut palm tree.
The Phoenix Dactylifera is one of the world’s oldest trees. It has been grown for thousands of years in hot, dry, desert regions throughout the world. It is an important multipurpose tree in the Middle East, Asia and North Africa. The Date palm tree is a holy symbol. It was historically mentioned in the Bible, the Koran and other religious books. Many cultures are based on this tree. It has been called “the tree of life”. The real Date palm can provide all life necessities: food, medicine, shelter, fuel, building materials and materials for weaving and basket making. It is a symbol of fertility and hospitality in many countries.
The date fruit is one of the most important sources of nutrition for people in the Middle East. It is considered to be a delicacy. The date is a good source of sugar, potassium, protein, fat and minerals. People in this area have eaten dates since ancient times.
Only a female tree can form dates, large trees will produce up to 1000 dates/year. A tree usually starts producing fruits after 5-8 years. It takes about 7 months for dates to ripen. The delicious fruits are harvested from September to early December.
Here is a recipe for Trail Bars using dates:
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter
- 1 Cup Honey
- 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
- 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 Cup Quick-cooking Oats
- ½ Cup Wheat Germ
- 2 Large Eggs
- ¼ Cup Honey
- 1 Cup Almonds, chopped
- 1 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
- ½ Cup Dates, pitted and chopped
- ½ Cup Dried Apricots, chopped
- ½ Cup Unsweetened Flaked Coconut
- 2 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
- In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, ¾ cup honey, and lemon juice until well blended
- Combine the flour, oats, and wheat germ
- Mix into the honey mixture
- Spread evenly into the bottom of an un-greased 9x13 inch baking pan
- Set aside
- In another bowl, beat eggs while gradually pouring in ¼ cup honey
- Stir in almonds, chocolate chips, dates, apricots, coconut, and sesame seeds until they are evenly distributed and well coated
- Spread over the crust in the pan
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until center is set, and the top is lightly browned
- Cool completely before cutting into bars