If you have tried out dates, you know how great they can be to eat. The best part is that they would also be in a grocery store close to you. However, where exactly?
If you are in a hurry to get dates and go on doing other things, you should find them under the produce section in grocery stores.
In case the dates are not in the produce section, check the bulk bins around the same area. Sometimes you might not easily find them, but store employees should be able to point you where they are located.
Below is a list of the stores that will commonly have dates available for sale.
- Amazon– If you like online shopping, Amazon can be a great place to start. This online shop will have dates from different brands. So, you should have a wide range of options to consider.
- Walmart– The store is known for having great value dates that would be great for different recipes. Check out the dried fruits aisle in Walmart to find the dates.
- Whole Foods– This store also has many options as the best dates. You should also check in the produce section to find yourself the best dates in the store.
The list of stores can go on for long. However, in most cases, the dates will be under the produce section. In case you ever have trouble locating them, talk to the grocery store staff to help you find them.
Common Types of Dates
You may have thought that dates are only one type, however, there are many options available in the market. What is important is that you get the right type of dates depending on your needs. Here are a few types you should know about.
- Medjool Dates
These dates have a soft texture compared to some other types. They are still delicious dates containing fiber and a rich taste. As for the color, it will vary from amber to reddish-brown. They can also be large in size than other dates.
Because of their high moisture content, they are best eaten fresh.
- Piarom Dates
These dates have their origin in the Persian Gulf and parts of the Middle East. Compared to the Medjool dates, these are semi dry, thin, and oval in shape. They are also smaller with a size of around 2 to 5 cm.
These dates have a good level of fructose making them a suitable choice for those with diabetes and blood pressure conditions. You could stuff them with nuts and have a delicate snack in the evening.
- Deglet Noor Dates
These dates have a semi-dry texture with a delicate flavor. It is why such dates are commonly used for cooking. You can find yourself loving seeing them in your cake or any other date recipe you might have in mind.
As for the size, they are medium to large. Also, their skin ripens to give off an amber or deep brown color.
- Mazafati Dates
These dates have a moisture content of 15% to 35%. This type of moisture will make it easy to use it in different applications. Well, you could as well eat them right out of the packaging. Or, you could also stuff them with cheese to make them taste even better.
Many people love eating these dates as they five off a soft taste of chocolate and caramel with hints of brown sugar.
- Barhi Dates
These dates feature a fresh rich syrupy flavor. This should be enough to interest more people to consider it for various recipes. Most companies selling such dates recommend them for desserts and they maintain their texture for longer and also taste good.
The Barhi dates are the smallest and probably the most fragile. Their skin easily comes off when touched. As for the color, the dates are mostly amber and turn to golden brown during storage.
The list can go on with more date types. What is important is that you always identify the right date type for your application and flavor needs. With a bit of research, you can always end up with the right date types.
Benefits of Eating Dates
If you are going to enjoy the best dates in the market, you might as well as learn more about the benefits of eating them. Here is a list of proven benefits of eating dates.
- They are highly nutritious
If you look at the nutrition profile of dates, you will quickly notice it is quite impressive.
Dates are dried fruits, so their calorie content will always be higher than what you get with fresh fruits. The calorie content is the same as what you get when eating other dried fruit such as figs and raisins.
Most of the calories will come from the carbohydrate content, which is around 75 grams per 3.5 ounces of dates serving. The protein content is only 2 grams, which is not much but good enough.
Despite dates containing a lot of calories, they still have crucial vitamins and minerals that most people would want. The fiber content is also significant.
Dates also have antioxidants that can contribute to improving your health overall.
- High fiber content
Having the high fiber content makes the dates good for your overall health. If you were stuck on how to increase your fiber intake, consider using dates.
Fiber content will generally improve your digestion and further prevent cases of constipation. With regular bowel movement, you will enjoy eating your meals better.
The fiber in the dates is also important for blood sugar regulation. This is because the fiber content will slow down the digestion, thus preventing the blood sugar from spiking easily after eating dates.
As such, dates have a low glycemic index compared to other fruits that might increase your blood sugar sharply.
- Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants in the dates help a lot in reducing the free radicals in the body that might cause diseases. If you compare to other dried fruits such as figs and raisins, dates will have higher antioxidant content.
Some of the important antioxidant types in dates include flavonoids, phenolic acid, and carotenoids.
Flavonoids are quite powerful and useful in reducing inflammation. They will also help reduce the risk of certain cancer types, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Carotenoids will generally promote a healthy heart in a person. It will also be great for reducing the risk of eye-related conditions including macular degeneration.
As for phenolic acid, it is good for its anti-inflammatory properties. As such, it can be great to lower the risks of developing cancer and heart-related diseases.
- Dates may promote brain health
Dates can be a great option for increasing brain function. Several lab studies show that dates are great for lowering the inflammatory markers in the brain. Such markers include interleukin 6. When there are high levels of this marker in the brain, you might end up with diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
More studies on animals show how dates are important for reducing the activities of amyloid beta proteins. These proteins can easily lead to the formation of plaques in your brain. When the plaques accumulate in the brain, they can lead to the premature death of brain cells.
Also, studies show how using dates can be great to boost memory and learning abilities. It is why they will be a great choice for dealing with cases of anxiety and memory loss.
As much as human studies on how dates can improve brain function are still underway, there is still more evidence how dates are great for improving your health generally.
- Dates may help with natural labor
Dates have been known to help in promoting and easing late-term labor in women who are pregnant.
When you eat dates throughout the few weeks of pregnancy, they are likely to increase cervical dilation important for improving your natural labor experience.
Other than promoting labor, the dates are also great for reducing the labor duration. More research is required to confirm this part, but it seems like something many women have experienced.
Dates also contain tannins. They are compounds known for helping women get contractions. You can also find them as being great sources of calories and natural sugar. They can be necessary to help in maintaining energy levels when you are in labor.
- Dates are great natural sweeteners
Dates are rich in fructose. This is a natural sugar type commonly found in fruits.
Fructose makes dates very sweet and will have a subtle caramel taste. It is why more people use them as substitutes to white sugar in different recipes. Considering that dates also have other nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, they should be a great option to use.
Well, as much as dates are great in terms of nutrition, they are still high in calories. As such, make sure to consume them in moderation.
7 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Dates
After learning about the benefits of eating dates, you would be interested in incorporating them in your diet. So, how do you do it? Below are some delicious ways of eating dates.
- Make a fruit cake full of dates. Fruitcakes are common around the world. What would be great is when you eat one containing dates. You can always try to spice up your fruit cake with something different other than the usual ingredients.
- Date smoothies are now a thing. All you have to do is add pitted dates to your morning smoothie and enjoy. A smoothie can be a blend of cardamom spice and bananas. The addition of dates takes it to a wholenew level. Another nice combination is coconut milk, orange, banana, and dates.
- Adding to salads is also a highly-welcomed idea. This is probably the easiest way of enjoying dates. Simply addthe chopped dates to your salad and have a great tasting salad. The salad can include the salad greens, walnuts, pears, dates, and blue cheese crumbles.
- Dates can be great for stuffing too. You can easily end up with some interesting recipes when it comes to stuffing dates. Try to stuff dates with cream cheese then add a little garlic to the mixture. Or use honey and walnuts too to see how this will excite your taste buds.
- Other than stuffing them, you could also wrap the dates. They can be wrapped in prosciutto or bacon. Serve the wrapped dates on toothpicks to make it easier to enjoy your picnic or time outdoors.
- I could not forget to mention baking with dates too. This is where you can get dates in cookies, breads, scones, and so much more. So, if you enjoy baking, this is a fun way of enhancing your cakes or cookies.
- Dates can be added on top ice cream or even frozen yoghurt. It should be a nice way of eating the dates and generally increasing the ice cream or yoghurt flavor.
How to Store Dates Properly
The storage of dates depends on how long you intend to store the dates. If it is short term storage, there will be several methods you can use to correctly store the dates.
- Short term use
To store them correctly, keep them in an airtight container. It can be glass or plastic Tupperware. Ensure that the dates are tightly packed in your container. You could still use a resealable plastic bag. Make sure to squeeze out the air before sealing the bag.
Also, make sure to store the semi-dry dates at room temperature. Placing them in the pantry or kitchen counter should be good enough for most people. Well, make sure they are not exposed to direct sunlight.
The soft dates should be stored in the fridge. The Medjool, Halawy, Barhi, and Khadrawy are soft date examples.
- Storing for later use
The best way to store dates for later us is by freezing them. You start by placing them in a freeze bag and squeeze the air out of the bag before it is sealed. You could still use glass or plastic Tupperware to store the dates.
Make sure to take the dates out of your freezer three hours before eating them. The dates should now have enough time to thaw before you can eat them.
Dates are fun to eat more often. They should be great to get most people interested in eating them for the kind of health benefits you get. As such, you should be open to testing out different date recipes, especially when it comes to baking and smoothies. Well, eating fresh dates will still do the trick. Go ahead and try them out.