Dreaming of Dates
I sit here realising one all-important fact! It is now date season! For some reason the Universe is nudging me to go out and buy some, and feed my mind, body and spirit with the juiciness and sugary pleasure that captivates my heart.
After a short spell selling Medjool dates I realised that I had other priorities to tick off the list before venturing too far into an arena I wasn’t quite ready for, but my passion for dates has far from subsided.
I have them at least once per week now and whenever I do I get excited, dreaming of owning my own date farm, relishing in the mystery of pleasure and fuelling my cells with a full range of nutrients including B-vitamins, potassium, iron and calcium.
They are literally the life sustaining fruit of the desert, working as we speak as a staple food for Bedouin nomadic tribes in the Middle East. They also contain a high level of water content of around 25% when picked fresh and so water requirements reduce in these environments. The date palm itself is one of the hardiest plants in the world, able to survive extreme temperatures without maintenance. They literally fascinate me, and as the oldest cultivated fruit in the world, it seems a coincidence that they began growing along the Nile, where civilisation began on a larger scale.
But I digress.
The bottom line is that I want fresh dates, and I want to hand pick them myself and live in an Oasis under an occasionally shaded sun. I also love the sea so my time being land locked would be limited. But this is why modern technology exists – surely to spread amazing fruits such as dates across the world!
If there is one turning point in history it is the day one of the Moroccan Royal Aides managed to steal away 11 date palms whilst a date disease had struck the trade to a standstill and took it across the sea to California, where the art of Medjool growing was eventually mastered in the Coachella Valley, close to Los Angeles, and now crosses the taste buds of millions across North America.
Believe me there are countless thousands of varieties, but Medjool seems to be the most commercial, mainly due to the size and juiciness.
Lastly, fossil records indicate that the date palm was common around the Mediterranean and in Mesopotamia as early as the Eocene epoch, some 50 million years ago. Among written records, an Akkadian cuneiform text from around 2500 BC mentions the date palm as a cultivated tree.
So there you have it!
Eat dates and let the mystery of natural flavours commence.