Dates are a very popular type of fruit especially in the Arab world. Apart from having a nice sweet taste, they have been used for centuries for their health-enhancing benefits.
Dates are very nutritional and contain vitamin A, numerous B-complex vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6), pantothenic acid, minerals (including magnesium, iron, phosphorous, copper, calcium, manganese, potassium), fiber, antioxidant flavonoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and tannins). They are fat-free, cholesterol-free and sodium-free. A single date has only 23 calories.
There many ways how dates can be consumed:
1. Dates can be eaten row.
2. They can also be glazed or eaten with syrup.
3. Some people have dates with yoghurt, laban or with Arabic coffee.
4. Dates can also be staffed with different types of fillings, most commonly with almonds, but often with walnuts, cashew nuts, pistachios, pecans. Some even stuff them with candied orange or lemon peel, marzipan, tahini or even with cream cheese.
5. Dates can be turned into a dough and used as a healthy snack balls by adding some oil, sesame seeds/nuts/cinnamon/coconut flakes.
6. They can also be used in puddings or biscuits. One of the most popular deserts in the Middle East is Date Maamoul, which is a date-filled pastry.
7. Very commonly used is also a date syrup, which can be added to beverages as a natural sweetener or to deserts to sweeten and to boost the flavour.
8. Lately, chocolate-covered dates have become very popular.