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|Food Buzz: History of Dates|
|Food Fable: Dates|
Zahidi dates are medium sized and distinctively oval in shape. They have pale brown skin and a thick, golden inner flesh that surrounds a single seed. When compared to the Medjool which is often regarded as the standard in the date world, they have a considerably lower sugar content. Chewy, and semi-dry in texture, the Zahidi date has a mildly sweet, nutty and buttery flavor with a subtle tang reminiscent of dried apricots.
Zahidi dates are available in the fall and winter months.
The Zahidi date palm is in the family Arecaceae and botanically classified as Phoenix dactylifera. Of the three types of dates, dry, semi-dry and soft, the Zahidi is considered to be a semi-dry variety. It is sometimes known as the “butter date” for both its light flavor and pale tan color.
Zahidi dates are highly nutritious and a rich source of dietary fiber. They contain iron, potassium, B-vitamins, flavonoids, antioxidants and almost all twenty amino acids.
The firm chewy texture of the Zahidi make it a perfect baking date for recipes that call for date pieces. As a semi-soft variety, it maintains its structural integrity it cookies, cakes and breads. Its subtle sweetness lends it to both sweet and savory applications, or simply on its own as a raw snack. Complimentary flavors include, chocolate, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cream, butter, coconut, orange, ginger, rosemary, dark rum, brandy, nuts, fresh cheeses, poultry, pork and bacon.
The Zahidi date palm was first introduced to the United States in 1902 in California’s arid dessert-like climate. Dates are among some of the oldest cultivated crops are thought to have a history that goes back to 4,000 B.C. A native of present day Iraq, the domestically grown Zahidi date palm is a rare treat usually only found at farmers’ markets or the occasional specialty grocer.
Recipes that include Zahidi Dates. One is easiest, three is harder.
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