History and origin of dates
In a remote, arid desert, date palms produce healthy fruit that feeds everyone from the toughest athletes to the most fragile babies. Whether you like Sukkari, Saggai, Ajwa or Medjool dates, the variety of dates is as wide and varied as the ocean. Of the more than 500 varieties of dates, we appreciate Sukkari the most for its moist, sweet, and caramelly flavor and Ajwa Dates Price in Pakistan for its healing properties. “Saggaye dates are the latest product for those who like dates that are not as sweet as Sukkari and for those who like fibrous, dense but moist dates.
The origin of dates is unknown due to the age of their cultivation, but they are believed to have been cultivated in the Middle East region since around 6000 BC. Fossil evidence suggests that the date palm has been around for at least 50 million years.
Since its discovery, the date palm has spread widely in many regions and was introduced by the Arabs to Spain, Italy, South West Asia, and North Africa. Later, the Spanish spread them to Mexico and California.
The date palm has separate male and female plants. Only fifty percent of the seedlings will be female, grown from seed, but because they are grown from seed, the seedlings are often of lower quality. Most commercial plantations use cuttings of viable varieties. Medjool is the main variety that produces a particularly high yield of large and sweet fruits. Plants grown from cuttings bear fruit 2-3 years earlier than seedlings.
The date palm is only produced in years when the tree is smaller and the fruit easier to pick. Although the date palm can live for 100 years or more and reach a height of 15-30 meters. The crown of green leaves reaches 3 to 6 meters in length.
Pollination methods for date palms
In the wild, date palms are pollinated by wind. However, in commercial gardens, they are pollinated by hand. Natural pollination takes place when there are approximately equal numbers of male and female plants. On the other hand, a single male can pollinate up to 100 females. Male date palms are valued as pollinators, so farmers can use their resources to grow more female trees.
Some farmers do not even keep male plants, as during the pollination period male flowers are available in local markets. The trees are hand-pollinated by skilled workers using ladders and, in some areas such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia, a special device that encircles the trunk of the tree and the farmer’s back so that the farmer can climb up to the trunk. Less commonly, pollen can be transported to the female flowers by wind machines.
The seeds of dates and how dates grow
Dates have a single seed about 2-2.5 cm long and 6-8 mm thick. The type of fruit depends on the content of glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Succari seeds are much larger than saggi or ajwa seeds.
Dates grow in large bunches that develop under the leaves and can weigh up to 40 kg. Large trees produce more than 1,000 dates a year, but not all of them ripen at the same time, requiring several harvests. To ensure the marketable quality of the fruit, the bunches of dates should be thinned and bagged or covered before ripening so that the remaining fruit will grow larger and be protected from the weather and pests such as birds.
Dates ripen at different stages
Not only do dates differ in color, taste, and texture at different stages of ripening, but they also have different Arabic names.
Description of Stages Weeks English Arabic
First stage 1 week – Hababook – Dates are small, round, light green, with horizontal stripes.
Second Stage 5-17 weeks – Kimri green dates – dates become oval, more green and bitter.
Third stage 19-25 weeks – red or yellow ‘Khalal’ dates – the next stage is the early ripening stage when dates become yellow or red, grow to full size and have a crisp but dry and slightly sweet taste.
At this stage, barchi dates come out with a crisp outer skin.
Fourth Stage 20-28 weeks – Rutub Wet Dates – At this stage the dates are ripe, soft and moist. At this stage you enjoy delicious succari dates.
Last stage 29 weeks – dried Tamar dates – the last stage of ripeness. At this stage you will find saggi, ajwa and medjool dates.
In the last three stages of ripening, dates are harvested, fumed, peeled, separated, packaged and sold to the consumer. Barkhi dates are yellow bunches, often found in grocery stores, that have a crisp and slightly pungent taste due to the halal stage.
When the crisp yellow pulp begins to soften, it becomes sweeter and turns into a rutub like our famous Sukkari dates. Rutub needs to be refrigerated to prolong this stage before it progresses to the final stage of dried dates. Saggies, although they are dried dates, are very soft and moist compared to other dried dates.