Unique Flavors of Dates to Enjoy: Nature’s Sweet, Healthy Snack
The term ‘nature’s candy’ can apply to many different foods, but for people who want something a bit out of the ordinary, dates top the list. These small, sweet fruits come from a variety of palm trees native to hot climates around the world. At Aurum Dates, our delectable products come from well-managed properties in the Tunisian Sahara.
For many who have only seen preserved packages of dry pitted dates tucked away in a supermarket, it is difficult to understand the true magic of these fruits. The different varieties have their own unique flavors and mouth feel. They work well for snacking, baking, and more.
Popular Varieties of Pitted Dates
Deglet noor Tunisian dates are one of the most popular varieties. Medjool dates are also commonly seen in regular shops around the world. Many people do not know that there are nearly 100 different varieties that grow wild and are cultivated for food use. Chances are, you will never come across most of them in your local market or even sold at premium online brands like Aurum Dates.
Medjool dates are sometimes called the king or crown jewel of dates. They are most commonly used in baking. They are super sweet and have even been used as a substitute for sugar in recipes. If you buy date syrup or date sugar, it comes from this variety. The fruits are generally softer than other types, too, which makes them easy to chop or process for use.
Ajwa dates are one of the Middle Eastern varieties that is mostly popular in that part of the world. Rather than having the classic oblong shape and rich brown color, they look rounder and nearly black. The sweetness quotient is not quite as strong as medjool. They have been described as having nutty, caramel, and even chocolatey flavors.
Piarom dates come from the same region of the world, but only grow in the mountains, so they are rarer than ones more easily cultivated agriculturally. When sold internationally, they often come with the nickname ‘chocolate dates.’ They have the same dark-brown color as the popular candy, and also have a similar flavor: sweet, slightly bitter, and dark.
Mazafati dates have a lot more moisture in the fruit than many of the pitted dates people usually use for snacks or baking. Although very sweet, they are best eaten fresh, so they are not common on the international food scene.
Barhi dates are small and fragile, so they are also not usually shipped around the world like medjool or deglet noor dates. Quite a few are now grown in California, however, and have reached the US market in that way. They have a very sweet, syrupy flavor and are commonly used for desserts only when fully ripe. When harvested earlier, they have a crunchier, almost creamy flavor.
Sayer dates have the highest sugar amount of any varieties: 75% sweetness. Their flavor comes across as caramel, so it makes sense that they are primarily dessert ingredients. However, they are also used to make specialty vinegars.
Rabbi dates, a semi-dry variety, have a recognizable oval shape but a unique dark red skin that makes it easy to tell them apart from more common options. They dry well and thus can store successfully for quite a long time. This consistency gives them a thin, flaky skin, soft insides, and a pleasant chewy texture.
Halawi dates actually get their name from the Arabic word for ‘sweetness.’ There is no doubt that these and all other types of dates have this quality as their primary flavor. Also commonly cultivated in California, this variety’s flavor mimics caramel and praline, which makes them a favorite for baked cakes, pies, and pastries.
What Makes Deglet Noor Dates Special?
For exotic food enthusiasts who prefer less sweetness, deglet noor dates offer something unique. They are also called deglet nour. The name itself means “Date or Light” and they are commonly referred to as the Queen of all Dates. They originally come from Algeria, but also grow all across the region. Aurum Dates has extensive well-tended farms in Tunisia, which has a perfect climate for growing the best fruits. They are the most commonly exported dates globally.
Deglet noor dates are medium in size, the classic oval date shape, and an almost translucent outer layer. Rather than pure sweetness, they tend toward a type of honey and nut flavor. Some people compare them to browned butter and sugar. Eating one gives you a bit of crunch, wonderful chewiness, and a strong desire to have more. Are you interested in healthy treats? Dates offer iron, B-vitamins, potassium, and antioxidants, too.
The world of dates is full of many different varieties to explore. Although all have sweetness and that unique chewy-crunchy feel, the most popular types like Deglet Noor offer more. They offer delicious, healthy snacks, and are wonderful ingredients for diverse dishes and baked goods.