Saturday, September 23, 2006

"Dates" Did You Know?

Every Ramadan, we make sure to stock up on dates to open our fasts with. A reporter asked me today, how come you always break your fasts with dates?

I guess we do it today still because of the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad who always opened his fasts with dates.

This fabulous and healthy fudgy fruit has been part of the staple food of the Middle-East as early as 6000 BC. It's super rich in Vitamin C and together with milk makes an excellent diet for Ramadan.

Did you know that there are female and male date palm trees? And these days, although date palms are naturally pollinated by winds, mankind's overconsumption has lead to a need for manual massproduction of dates by human hands. One male plant can with help, pollenize 50 female plants. And contrary to what I thought, Egypt and Iran are the largest producers of dates in the world, with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Pakistan following closely.

Dates ripen in four stages, which are known throughout the world by their Arabic names kimri (unripe), khalal (full-size, crunchy), rutab (ripe, soft), tamr (ripe, sun-dried). Tamr is also the name by which dates are known in the Arabic language.

Do you always eat dates in Ramadan? Do you use them in your cooking as well?


clayfuture said...

I always open my fast with dates. I don't think I ever eat dates other than ramadan, except for those chocolate covered ones, sometimes. I've read that dates can rejuvenate the body and also have some healing qualities.

Syed Sibgatullah said...

no, no. apart from opening my fasts with dates, i also consume them in days other than ramazan. you know they are so delicious. i try keeping them in my normal meals, specially with my breakfast.

clayfuture said...

I think that's good idea. I tried the same thing. Last year after ramadan I was eating a few every day, but then, you know, the fever wore off!! I think I will start again this time!!

kaya said...

I love the crumbly dry dates, that we brought back from makkah, but do not like the wet sticks ones much.
The much acclaimed Ajwa turned out to be a big thumbs down from me.
Yes we do eat dates the whole year through.
In baking in cooking and just like that.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

oho hooo! Clay F aagaya! And syed saab as well! Welcome jee!

Caly F, dates are super duper healthy. back in the day during times of war the followers of teh Prophets would have a small bag of dates with them always as a full meal. Apparently good for everything they are. :)

Syed I also eat dates during other times as well. Californian dates are actually very yummy too, the big ones? They were introduced to California in the late 1700's by Spain who of course got it from the Arabs.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Kaya, actually I thikn Ajwa was the Prophet's favourite date. I don't recall if I have tried it or not, since I never know the names of the dates.

I like my dates fudgy. But I don't like them without chewing resistance.

Boo! said...

I always thought the Prophet's (pbuh) tradition was to break fast with dates the first ten days, another ten with water and the final ten with something salty.

Dates in general is a fruit that he liked a lot.

Or am I just completely off here?

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Well I don't know about the first ten days etc, however there is a hadith about breaking the fast in general with dates, and if yuo dont have dates, with water or fruit.

At that time, we have to remember, the Prophet was extremely poor, and often went hungry. They often didn't afford meat or other foods or bread and dates grew everywhere in abundance and are a major source of nourishment. Eating only dates is a full meal and gives you everything from calcium , vitamins, iron to potassium etc. And of course they are super yummy. The chocolate of the Arab world I say.

Anonymous said...

Salams fellows! Dates are scientifically good to break fast with because it raises up the blood sugar, after having low blood sugar the whole day during fasting. The hadith you mentioned SS, is also scientifiacally true, because, if you don't have dates, then you may break your fast with water. Water is very soft for the body and moistens it. And if you don't have water available, fruit compensates it and is too very kind towards the stomach, and prepares it for other types of food. Otherwise if you had broken the fast with beans or dry goods like pasta, rice etc, or even with meat, your stomach would get some problems, like turgidity unfortunately.

Salams and thanks for this beautiful Ramadan blog/
Walking sister with flip flops

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Ooohh our online dietician is here! You go girl!

Glad to have you here and do drop by often for some cyber iftaar!