If you’ve ever been to a dates market perhaps in Madina or Saudi Arabia, you would remember the overwhelmingly excitable feeling of seeing so many types of dates available for sale. Today, dates are easily available in supermarkets and stores. Still, many do ponder about the similarities and differences of dates. Here’s a quick highlight on dates. Hopefully, you’ll be better informed which dates to choose for this Ramadan!
The date that tastes like butterscotch candy! Their skins are thin and crackling. Its interior; a smooth and creamy paste that tastes like brown sugar and caramel.
Deglet Noor dates
The “queen of all dates” is soft to the touch. Lightly coloured, Deglet Noor dates are chewy and drier than Medjool dates. The soft taste of honey, these dates are generally cheaper in the dates market. Deglet Noor dates make a great all-purpose date which can be used in baking or other recipes which explains why many store the Deglet Noor dates for a long time! They are easier to cut in uniform pieces because of their dry texture. Great for cakes, cookies and breads!
Halawy Dates (Halawi Dates)
Light amber to golden flesh in colour, the halawy date has a small to medium size body. They are also more wrinkly than most other dates. Don’t be fooled for the halawy date has a mighty caramel flavor and melting softness! If you’re a fan of butter-rich caramel, the halawy date is right for you. Many have used Halawy dates in savoury dishes. And oh, they go great with cheese too!
Khadrawy dates (Khadrawi dates)
Khadrawy dates have a yellow or amber skin. They are soft which guarantees a pure melt-in-your-mouth sugar goodness. Needless to say, they are super sweet! Many have said the Khadrawy dates are the gooiest variety in the dates market.
Medjool dates are considered the best-known of the soft dates. They are large in size; 3 inches long to be exact. Deliciously luscious, Medjool dates are also moist to the palate. It has a melt-in-your-mouth texture, sweet and sticky inside. The taste: a heavenly intense caramel. That’s why Medjool dates are great for shakes, smoothies, stuffing recipes or energy bars!
A’isha (RAA) reported Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s) as saying: “The ‘Ajwa’ dates of ‘Aliya’ contain heating effects and these are antidote in the early morning.” (Sahih Muslim). A known superfood, the Al Ajwa are black and delightfully soft. They are cultivated in the city of Madinah and not the biggest in the dates market but that shouldn’t discourage you from trying the lovely Ajwa Dates.
“Whoever has seven Ajwa dates every morning he will not be harmed on that day by poison or magic.” Sahih al-Bukhari
“Ajwa dates are from paradise. Tirmidhee no. (2068). And referring to eating seven Ajwa dates, the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s), “He will not be harmed by anything until he reaches the evening.” Sahih Muslim no. (2047).
Thoory dates or Thuri dates
Popular within Algeria; the Thoory dates or Thuri dates really does very well within California too. Thoory dates are dry with a chewy flesh and a firm skin. Light brown in colour, they are not as sticky like many others. They have a nice nutty taste and you can use them in granola, muesli or trail mix, since they don’t have enough moisture content to make the oats soggy.
Zahidi dates are semis-oft with a crunchy flesh and large seed. They are often used to make date sugar products.
Safawi (Kalmi) dates
One of the most sought-after are the Safawi (kalmi) dates. They are soft and one of the most moist variety of date fruit from Saudi Arabia. Cultivated in Madinah too, these dates are dark brown to crimson red in colour and deliciously sweet!
Grown and sun dried in Qaseem, Saudi Arabia, Mabroom dates have a slender, longer, firmer body compared to other dates with a distinctly less sugary taste than its counterparts. Hence, they are great for those who enjoy subtler flavours. Story has it that the Sultan of Brunei gives a box of Mabroom dates to each of his Muslim people as a Ramadan gift!
Cultivated both in Saudi Arabia and Madina, the Ambera dates well renowned for its size as it is the largest of the Madinah dates. They are soft and fleshy and is amongst the most expensive! They also come in king size and has a distinct sweet cinnamon flavour.
True to it’s name, Sukkari” means “Sweet. Sukarri dates are Less known in Europe than in Saudi Arabia where they are a favourite fruit, often referred as the “King of Dates”. Sukkari dates have a blonde gold color and a fresh, sweet pulp. Like the Medjool dates, Sukarri dates are also soft which guarantees you a melt-in-your-mouth goodness!