Encyclopedia of Dates
To learn more about dates!
Study time: 15 min
Date palm is a flowering plant species originated in tropical regions that has oval-cylindrical sweet fruit called dates. Date trees typically reach about 20 meters in height. Mature date palms can produce about 70–140 kg of dates per harvest season which is enough amount of date for yearly consumption of a single family member. Date fruit is sweet, rich in fiber with a hard pit and usually a soft skin.
There are more than 400 varieties of dates with different shapes and flavors but only about 200 types are commercialized and consumed. There are some types that are either produced limitedly or not edible for human beings.
Date is originally
Dates have been cultivated in the Middle East and the Indus Valley for thousands of years. There is archaeological evidence of date cultivation in Arabia from the 6th millennium BCE (Source: Elements: Production Quantity / Items: Dates) Currently, date palm is cultivated across Northern Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia; however, there are countries like USA that are not within these regions but are among producing countries of dates.
There are 5 main growth stages of a date: Hababauk, Kimri, Khalal, Rutab, and Tamer. It is at Rutub stage that date is much more fresh and soft yet less sweeter compared to Tamer stage.
Dates are generally categorized in 3 types of fresh, dry and semi-dry. Dry and semi-dry dates have longer shelf life and much easier storage requirements while fresh dates should be kept refrigerated.
Dates have an excellent nutrition profile. They are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and also antioxidants, which lead to many other health benefits of this fruit. To name a few cases that dates can be beneficial to: Cardiovascular diseases, bowel disorders, Anemia, sexual dysfunction, gastrointestinal problems, etc.
According to medical sources, even though the amount of daily take of dates vary person by person depending on their health condition and calories needed, but it is ideal to have 100 g of dates (about 10 dates) daily to get all the essential nutrients (Source: Medicinenet Website, Divya Jacob, Pharm. D. & Shaziya Allarakha, MD.
Iran is among top 3 producers of dates in the world. There are more than 200 types of dates cultivated in Iran out of which we will highlight the most popular ones consumed locally and internationally.
Below you may find a list of world’s popular date types and some info about them:
IRAN: Jiroft, Anbar, Kahnooj
Kali date is a semi-dry date from Iran that has medium sap. It has a relatively soft flesh, rich in fiber, iron and potassium. Harvest time: mid August.
IRAN: Hormozgan prov.
Piarom is very popular dry date rich in sugar and protein. Its sugar is fructose which is good for diabetics. It is very rich in potassium which prevents higher blood pressure. It is known to be a late ripening variety.
IRAN: Kerman, Hormozgan & Bushehr prov.
Mazafati is somehow the most popular Iranian date type. It has high moisture so has to be refrigerated. The best Mazafati is from Bam city in Kerman and the most premium ones are very dark black. Mazafati is very high in potassium.
IRAN: Khuzestan prov.
Also known as Estameran, Sayer date is high in sugar thus a good source of energy for athletes. It is one of the sweetest types of dates in the world. It can be pitted very easily.
Fresh & semi-dry
IRAN: Fars prov.
Shahani has a soft and moisty flesh which is very good for production of date syrup. It is also called Shavoni or Shani.
IRAN: Khuzestan, Bushehr & Fars prov.
It is oval shaped with a light brown color. Due to its high sugar, it is commonly used in making of alcohol, vinegar and as sweetener.
IRAN: Bushehr prov.
Kabkob has a thick skin and is gooey. It has more sap. It can’t be consumed at its Khalal stage. At this early stage it is yellow yet it turns into brown (light) when ripe.
IRAN: Sistan & Baluchestan prov.
Rabbi dates are also largely produced in Pakistan so they are also known as Paki dates. They look wrinkled and have a long shelf life of up to 2 years. The best Rabbi dates are found in Zabol and Iranshahr cities.
IRAN (Khuzestan prov.,) & IRAQ
They are smaller in size with yellowish color. It has a sweet and caramel taste that makes it very unique. Its flesh has a soft and smooth texture.
Dayri (Dairi) Date
IRAN: Khuzestan prov. IRAQ
Dayri has a strong flavor. It is quite large with average sweetness. It has a thick and soft flesh. It is usually dark brown to black in color. The harvest time for Dayri dates is beginning of fall in Iran.
Al Mehtari Date
IRAN: Minab (Hormozgan prov.)
It is very small with very early ripening time (early summer) that makes it economically valuable. It has a relatively large seed.
Khazravi (Khadrawy) Date
Fresh to Semi-dry
IRAN: Fars & Khuzestan prov.
Khazravi date can be easily pitted. It is recommended to be eaten fresh but it can be taken fresh and dried. It has a soft texture. It has a dark mahogany color and feature a dry, flaky, paper like skin.
IRAN: Bushehr prov.
Khasoei is very small with light brown color skin. It has a very unique and delicious taste. It is high in Fructose and low in Sacarose thus a good source of energy for diabetics.
Originally from Morocco, now it is also grown in US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, South Africa and Jordan. They’re often sold dried but not dehydrated, making them soft and sticky. Their sugars become more concentrated as they dry, which further increases their sweetness.
IRAN: Kerman & Hormozgan prov.
The area under cultivation of Mordasang is very limited as it is known to be grade 2 and 3. Mordasang dates are also harvested and consumed in the form of rutab
Ajwa date is exclusively grown in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Ranging from a dark brown to almost black color. They are quite soft and fruity with a prune-like taste and tend to be of a dry variety.
IRAN: Bushehr prov. & Saudi Arabia
Anabar dates are quite large with very small seed. They are among expensive assortments of dates from Iran. They're chewy and very aromatic. The flesh is tender yet almost slightly crispy.
Safawi dates are a soft, moist variety of dates that mainly grow in Saudi Arabia in the Al-Madina region. Safawi dates are characteristically identified by their particular deep black colour and consist of medium and long fruits. The Safawi date resembles the Ajwa date concerning the refined structure and taste.
Saghai (Sagai) Date
Saghai dates are light brown with yellow color on their tips. Their skin look wrinkled but are not dry. They are average in size. It is well known for its unique texture which has a combination of crunchiness and softness both.
Egypt & IRAN (Bushehr)
Originating in Egypt, but Khiri dates are also grown in Bushehr. This date is large with a cylindrical and elongated shape, commonly amber to dark brown in color with wrinkled flaky skin. It is delightfully soft and chewy with a sweet raisin-like flavor and caramel aftertaste. Despite its great taste, it is not a very expensive kind.
Kholas dates are enjoyed at every stage of maturity of its ripening process, such as balah, rhutab, or tamr. This date has a semi-translucent dark to golden-brown skin in an oval shape. It is usually taken with coffee.