Dates are available year round, but because they are harvested in fall and early winter, they’re freshest then. There are three main categories of dates: soft, semisoft, and dry.
"Dry dates" are not dates that have been deliberately dehydrated, as is the case with other kinds of dried fruits. Instead, they simply contain relatively little moisture when ripe.
Whereas your dried apricots, banana, papaya, kiwi or for that matter almost any dried fruit may contain added juices, sweeteners and preservatives usually sulfites or more precise "Sulfur Dioxide"), dates are naturally dried.
Here are some varieties of dates you may find in the stores or at farmers’ markets.
- Barhi dates: The fruit that tastes like butterscotch candy. Named for the hot Arabic winds called “Barh,” these dates are medium-sized, thin-skinned fruit with soft, tender flesh and a syrupy flavor. The bad news is that Barhi dates have a brief season and are too delicate to be commercially shipped. The origin of the Barhi is iraq. Its size is 16-20 g and its shape is Round. It has a Yellow color and available August – October.
- Deglet Noor dates: These dates once graced only the tables of Arabia's royal palaces. Translated from Arabic means "translucent" or "date of light". Deglet Noor dates is a semisoft date, deglet noor is the variety most often available. It has firm flesh and a color range from light red to amber. Deglet Nour is one of hundreds of cultivars of date palm but is, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the leading date in terms of export value.
- Halawy dates: These soft dates are thick-fleshed, caramely, and sweet. Their appearance is wrinkled and the skin ranges from yellow to amber.The Hallawi is a Dry, sweet and high in Fiber date. The origin of the Hallawi is Egypt. Its size is 7-12g and its shape is Elongated and thin. It has a Dark Red-Brown, Dark Brown color and available Year Round. Common uses of the Hallawi are Fill with Marzipan & walnuts,Cooking entrées, cakes.
Khadrawy dates: Similar to the Halawys, these soft dates have a caramel-like texture and sweet flavor. The Hadrawi is a Dry, sweet and high in Fiber date.
The origin of the Hadrawi is Iraq.
Its size is 8-12 g and its shape is Elongated and thin. It has a Dark Brown,Reddish Brown color and available Year Round.
Common uses of the Hadrawi are Snack, Dessert,together with nuts, in cakes.
Medjool dates: These semisoft dates, sometimes called the Cadillac of dates, are sweet, moist, meaty, and firm-textured. The origin of the Medjoul is Morocco, Known as the King of Dates due to it's size & taste.
Its size is 16-35g and its shape is Elongated. It has a Light to Dark Mahogany Brown color and available Year Round.
Common uses of the Medjoul are Snack, Baking, dessert, fill with walnuts.
Zahidi dates: The Zahidi, a semisoft date, is called “Nobility.” It has a large seed and crunchy fibrous flesh, and is often processed for sliced dates and date sugar products. The Zahidi is a Relatively dry and sweet date.
The origin of the Zahidi is Iraq.
Its size is 8-12g and its shape is Round. It has a Golden to Light Brown color and available Year Round.
Common uses of the Zahidi are Snack, Entrées, in cakes, fruit salad.
The Chinese date, or jujube, is neither a variety of date nor a member of the same botanical family. It does, however, strongly resemble a true date in color and texture, and is used in much the same way.