How are Dates Grown and processed?
A date is a stone fruit which means that it has a single seed surrounded by an outer fleshy fruit. Other examples of stone fruits that are consumed commonly are peaches, mangoes, and olives. The date is the fruit of the date palm tree which is classified from trees scientifically known as Phoenix dactylifera. Dates are a berry of golden yellow color or reddish-brown when ripe. Its meat is soft, aromatic, and sweet with a stone inside it of elongate shape and a longitudinal furrow. Dates can be traced back almost 50 million years back according to fossils. It is believed to have originated from Mesopotamia and the dried fruit has remained popular in that region (Iraq, Northern Africa, and the Middle East) ever since. Egypt is the largest producer of dates today followed by every other Middle Eastern country. Dates are known in different names in different languages across various cultures with the most alternative name being khajoor.
There are about a million varieties of dates grown around the world but in the U.S you will find the plump and tender Medjool Dates. There’s also the slender Deglet Noor Date supposedly known as the “Queen of Dates. So when you buy khajoor make sure to get the highest quality available.
Harvesting dates means climbing up tall palm trees which can grow up to 75 feet high. This could be done in two ways with one of them being the old-fashioned manual way while in other instances it’s done with the help of heavy machinery. Usually, this process is done under scorching heat and this is the main reason it is classified as a labor-intensive process. When you buy khajoor, understand that you are reaping the results of some extreme labor. Let us take a look at how the fruit is typically grown and processed.
The date season begins early in the year when the trees are cleaned after the end of the dormant period. At this time, workers have to start by cutting the thorns off of the date fronds to ensure hand pollination.
Dates are usually typically pollinated by hand to ensure an optimal harvest. To hand pollinate, the male sheaths that contain the flower are collected before they release their pollen. The pollen is collected and then hand dusted onto the female palms to guarantee an abundant harvest. The date strands are thinned out manually to allow room for the fruit to grow to its maximum potential. Once the fruit is ready to be picked, they are bagged. Workers place bags around the cluster of dates in an orchard or field to protect the fruit from birds and other insects. This method is also used to catch any ripe fruits that drop from the tree unexpectedly. Buy khajoor from verified vendors to ensure that you get the tastiest treat available!
Not all dates ripen at the same time as some of them can be immediately packaged for sale as soon as they are picked from the palm. Some dates might need more time to sweeten and they are left in the heat until they’ve reached full maturity. Harvesting season is usually a very busy period for the cultivators and workers as they require careful monitoring and tedious labor. Depending on the size of the trees, it is common to use a reach lift. The reach lift is an elongated platform that transports a worker up the trees to harvest the date clusters. They are either harvested using a machete or a sharp tool and each cluster weighs about approximately 20 kilos; therefore requiring multiple trips to sort out every cluster. The harvested clusters remain on the lift until they complete that round of harvesting, and then they are removed onto a tarp on the ground.
At the end of the day, this process can be fulfilled in various ways and is based on the grower and the customer who is buying the product and what they require. Buy khajoor and use them in moderation to reap its various benefits.
After being harvested, the large dates are then sorted according to their size and the way the manufacturer wants to pack them. The date packing process consists of sorting through large clusters of the fruit and removing those that are not enough of the required quality with clippers. Dusting the fruit of its impurities using paintbrushes to improve its appearance. The boxes in which they are packed in are then modified to meet the customer specifications after which they are closed and sealed. It’s either packed in the field itself or it is transported to a separate place where it’s assembled for sale to the market. Buy khajoor from highly reputed farms to ensure quality.
Dates are a fruit that is rich in flavor and can be used in several ways across the world. It requires a coordinated effort from all parties starting from the sowing period right up to harvest season. So when you buy Khajoor, make sure that it is carefully preserved so you can retain its quality for a long period of time.