“Give me agriculture and I will give you civilization."
- The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
In the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – may his soul rest in peace – founder of the country’s agriculture renaissance, devoted his energy to the growth and cultivation of date palms beyond the borders of the oases where they traditionally grew. This contributed to the flourishing of date palms throughout the nation, and turned the desert into an abundant paradise for its dwellers. Today, the UAE is the leading cultivator of dates in the world, bringing this ancient super fruit to a new global market. This sector is one of the most vibrant contributors to the economic growth of the UAE.
Date palms are an intrinsic part of Arab life and heritage.
The palm’s wood and leaves were used to build houses, fences, beams, baskets, ropes and many other useful items.
For thousands of years, they provided shelter, food and other necessities for the Arab Bedouins
The fruit is a staple of the Arab diet and a vital source of nutrition and energy.
The UAE is one of the top 10 date palm cultivators in the world, with dates grown in royal palaces, private residences, public gardens and streets as well as commercial farms.
THE ORIGIN OF DATES
Date palm cultivation originated in the Middle East and spread to North Africa, then to the regions of California, South Africa and Australia.
The Arabs pioneered a novel irrigation system known as aflaaj – water channels designed to extend the oasis water to a wider geographical area, and hence increase the cultivated tree area.
The Middle East accounts for over 90% of date production worldwide.
Research has shown that these ancient fruits may be the key
to the health of our future generations.
Did You Know?
The date fruit can be eaten at all stages of maturity – ripe and fresh (called Besr), semi-matured (called Rutab), and dried (called Tamr).
The dried fruit could keep for long periods of time, and was an essential source of nutrition for Arab desert dwellers long after its harvest season.
One of the ways they used to preserve it was by extracting "dibs" or "date syrup" (sometimes referred to as date honey), ensuring that they would have a source of nutrition and energy throughout the year.
Dates are enjoyed in many forms - as whole fruit (fresh or dried), as syrup, as paste in cakes, biscuits and desserts, as jam, as juice, etc.
Dates can be enjoyed throughout the year but are strongly associated with special religious events, such as Ramadan for Muslims and Christmas for Christians. It’s tradition to break the Ramadan fast with a handful of dates.
Why Dates Are The Best Choice For Your Health.
1Seven dates, or 40 grams, is equal to 80-160 grams of fresh fruit.
2Dates do not contain starch or cholesterol.
3Dates are the best source for potassium (2.4 times higher than banana).
4Dates are rich in fiber, antioxidants and nutrients.
5Dried dates can keep for more than 18 months if stored in a cool, dry place.
6Dates contain simple sugars (glucose and fructose) that the body uses to feed its energy requirements, and doesn't convert into fat.
740 grams of dates per day provides 12% of the daily recommended fibre for maintaining a healthy digestive system.
8Dates are rich in natural phenols which protect the body from the damage caused by foreign oxidizing agents and inflammation.
9Dates are fat-free. They can add natural sweetness to dishes without adding fat.
10Dates have no cholesterol. Lab tests have shown that they reduce the oxidation of harmful LDL cholesterol.
11Dates are rich in iron. They protect against anaemia and are good for individuals who suffer from it.
12Dates are contain potassium, minerals and nutrients that naturally counter the sodium from dietary consumption.
13Dates contain essential vitamins like Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E & other B complex group vitamins.
14Dates are "brain food" because their phosphorus content promotes brain cell growth.
15No poisoning or allergy cases have been reported from directly or indirectly consuming dates.
16Travelers brewed ground date seeds with cardamom as a substitute for coffee.