Essentially, dates are the fruit borne from the date palm tree. It is what we refer to as stone fruit.
That is to mean that it has only one seed kind of like mangoes and olives. This single seed is covered up by fleshy fruit.
Dates were first traced to early Mesopotamia and to date they have remained sort of indigenous to the regions of the Middle East and Northern Africa particularly Egypt. However, in this era that we live in, any person can get their hands on dates at any place in the world.
As with the numerous other fruits that we have in our kitchens, dates can and do go bad albeit at a relatively slower pace than other people.
Do dates go bad?
Well, yes, they do. However, keep in mind that dates last quite a long time. What this means is that for dates to go bad, for the most part, there will have to be an outside hand at work or contamination of the dates. This can be in the sense of failing to reseal the container or allowing water to enter the container.
Different Types of Dates and their differences
Although there are thousands of varieties of dates that are grown throughout the world, the two most common ones are the Medjool Dates which can be referred to as the ”Cadillac” or “Queen” of dates, and the Deglet Noor Dates.
The main differences in these two more common and most used variety of dates are highlighted in the table below.
|Medjool Dates||Deglet Noor Dates|
|They are plump and bigger in size.||They are slender and smaller in size.|
|They are soft in composition.||They are semi-dry in composition.|
|They have a deep brown color on the outside of the date.||They have an amber color on the outside of the date.|
|They present with amber-colored flesh.||They present with brown colored flesh.|
|They have a caramel flavor to them.||They have a nutty and generally “date” flavor to them.|
How Long Do Dates Last?
Dates are a favorite for many cooks because of just how long they can last before they start to go bad. When considering just how long your dates can last, it is important to pay keen attention to the composition of the dates.
This is because dates that are softer tend to have a shorter shelf life than their counterparts that are drier. When stored at room temperature, dates can last for a period of between one month to three whole months.
When the dates have been transferred into the refrigerator, they van keep well and retain their optimum quality for a period of between six months and twelve months at most.
To make the dates to last for an even longer period of time, you can choose to freeze them. This will keep the dates fresh and prime for a period of about two whole years.
Do Dates Need to Be Refrigerated?
The choice of whether to refrigerate dates entirely depends on the individual and the factors they will take into consideration.
However, freezing of dates is advisable in instances where they were bought fresh and are not going to all be used immediately. It should be noted that dry dates can also be refrigerated and will also keep really well.
Further to this, dates ought to be placed in the refrigerator especially if you leave in areas that typically have higher temperatures throughout.
Do Dates Mold?
So, you have opened your package of dates and can see a white crust covering the top of the dates and are wondering if that is mold.
Well, those crusty spots are highly unlikely to be mold but rather are patches of crystallized sugar. This is because dates generally do not have enough moisture content in them for them to support the growth of mold.
This does not mean that dates cannot grow mold. They definitely can, especially in cases where the packaging containing the dates has been exposed to contamination. The white crusty spots you might find on dates in your kitchen are highly unlikely to be mold.
When the mold or yeast grows on the dates, they will start to smell of alcohol or just off. The dates will also typically not taste right, their color will have changed from the original color to a much darker one.
How Many Dates Should You Eat in a Day?
Generally speaking, there is no minimum number of dates that you can consume in a day and neither is there a maximum number of dates to be consumed.
However, moderation is key. When eating dates or incorporating them into your diet, it is important to keep in mind that even too much of something nice is bad for you.
To enjoy your dates without the guilt of having eaten 25 in one sitting, you can choose to spread their intake out throughout the day.
For instance, you can have three dates in the morning, five during the day, and two in the evening.
How Do You Keep Dates Fresh?
It does not matter whether you picked up the Medjool Dates or Deglet Noor Dates, the method of storing them and preserving them is the same.
What matters most is whether you want to store them for consumption further in the future or near in the future.
For the option of short-term storage, say for a period of about a month or even less, storing the dates at room temperature is very much okay to do.
All you need to do is to ensure that the dates are placed in a place that is cool and dry.
The place should be away from direct sunlight or other sources of heat or fluctuations in temperature generally.
What this means is that either placing your dates in the pantry or kitchen cabinet is perfectly okay and safe. Also, ensure that the packaging that the dates come in is properly sealed.
Otherwise, once the packaging has been opened, you should transfer the dates into a resealable container or a freezer bag.
This will ensure that they do not dry out fast and as such last longer.
When it comes to the option for long term storage, placing the dates in the refrigerator is the best way to go. This is especially the case if you stay in relatively hot areas. Keep in mind that the dates need to first be placed in a container that can be resealed tightly.
This will act as a means of protecting the dates from absorbing moisture from the environment in the refrigerator and thus no drying out.
A further option when you need to store dates for much longer periods of time is to freeze them. Unlike most of its other fruit counterparts, dates freeze very well and really without any extreme form of preparation. The reason for this is because dates are certainly very high in sugar content.
Should You Wash Dates or Not?
The answer to this question depends on whether the dates you have are the fresh kind or the dried kind of dates. Generally, washing of dates is a good practice to start.
It is important to note that dates should only be washed right before they are eaten or used in the preparation of a meal or recipe to be followed.
Washing the dates helps in getting rid of any dirt that may have accumulated on the surface of the dates as well as any bacteria that has made its home on the skin of the date.
The washing of dates is also essential because it can help to wash away any insects or bugs that may have made their way onto the surface of the dates and burrowed into place.
This washing of dates simply helps an individual to avoid eating any substance that may affect them adversely.
For the best washing of dates, it is most ideal to use running water that is cool and clean to ensure that you actually get the benefits of washing the dates in question.
Proven Health Benefits of Eating Grapes
- Dates are highly nutritious in that they contain several vitamins and minerals that our bodies need in order to function optimally.
- Since dates are high in fiber, they help in preventing constipation and promoting healthy bowel movements.
- Eating dates just might be the answer you were looking for in terms of boosting brain function and health due to the presence of the antioxidants.
- Further, the consumption of dates may help in easing late-term labor in pregnant ladies. Usually, pregnant ladies are advised to eat the date fruits when they are in their last few weeks of pregnancy. The dates are believed to help in cervical dilation and lowering the need of having to have labor induced in order for the child to be delivered by the mother.