Dates are small fruits that we consume as dried fruit and that, minor by little, have been entering our kitchen. It is becoming more and more common to find dates in greengrocers and supermarkets as it is a fruit that is “in fashion.”
One reason for its growing popularity is the desire to achieve a sweet taste without adding sugar to bakery products. Thus, it is a fairly common component in the entire range of sweet preparations that we frame under the “healthy” label.
Nutritional composition of dates
The fact is that it is a naturally dried fruit; for this reason, its nutritional density is high, since in the drying process, what happens is that the amount of water in the product decreases and its nutrients are increased. At the nutritional level, its content stands out in:
- Fiber (soluble and insoluble)
- Provitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin B3 and vitamin C
- Athletes: This is a valuable way to transport concentrated nutrients for endurance athletes. In addition, its high potassium and sugar content can come in handy for muscle recovery.
- Children: its sweetness is usually liked, although the texture is not always well accepted. They are efficient in making sweets without added sugar since dates already provide a good amount and sweetness to different recipes.
- Constipation: Dates contain a not inconsiderable amount of fiber that will help improve intestinal transit.
Not recommended for…
- People with dental cavities: the amount of sugar they contain and their sticky consistency make them food that will promote dental cavities. It is essential to take this factor into account when brushing your teeth after eating them.
- Weight loss diets: fresh figs can be consumed but not abused since it is a product that, when losing water, contains a high percentage of sugars.
- Potassium-restricted diets: like most fruits, the potassium content of figs is not negligible at all, so we must limit their consumption in diets with a controlled potassium intake, as may be the case in people with kidney disease.
- Diet-related migraine cases: dates contain tyramine, which has a vasoconstrictive effect that can cause migraine in people who tend to suffer from this type of headache.
Also Read: Impact Of Restrictive Diets On Health
Types of dates
There are different varieties with their differences. They are generally classified as soft, semi-dry, and dry. For
- Medjool dates, soft dates, very sugary, and due to their smooth texture, juiciness and sweetness, they are excellent allies in baking.
- The Deglet Noor, semi-dry, is originally from Tunisia and can be consumed with sweet and savory. They are probably the most common variety in the markets.
- Other varieties are the Khadrawy, sweet, the Halawy, or the Barhi that are eaten fresh, without drying.
Its versatility is almost infinite, and we can find recipes with dates in both sweet and savory preparations.
As starters, we can make tapas, tartlets, skewers, or fill them. They marry well with cheese, meats, and vegetables. In main dishes, they can be a perfect accompaniment. They can be used in salads, stews with rice, legumes, accompanying meats (chicken or turkey), and fish. In desserts, it can accompany ice cream, cakes, or pasta. Also, for breakfast with cereal flakes, muesli can complement fruits, such as pear and nuts, very well.
How to keep them longer
As they are dried fruits with a high density of sugars and little water, they are not very perishable and can be kept well for months. However, it is essential to take into account several considerations. Once purchased, we can store them in a closed glass container, in a cool place protected from light. In plastic containers, they are more likely to suffer mold. On the contrary, if they are kept in the air or in containers that do not close, they will dry out more, in addition to having the risk of insects reaching them.
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