Not all of us recognize dates palm. Well, what is a date palm? This kind of fruit has been popular since ancient times. It’s considered as the symbol of fertility among the Egyptians.
The tree has quite a slender trunk with 29 m tall. The tree is covered with sheaths of leaves. It has unisexual flowers with small and fragrant characteristics.
The fruits are popular as dates. They are similar to oblong berries with dark color when ripe. The flesh of the fruit only contains a seed. In the terms of originality, this plant belongs to North Africa. Recently, we can find it around Arabia and Persian Gulf. The tree grows healthy on the oases. We can also find it in the south part of the USA and the northern part of Mediterranean.
Dates Palm Cultivation
In the terms of cultivation, dates palm is quite sensitive to the frost and cold climates. However, it will grow in different types of soil with a good drainage. In moderate climate zones, this plan should get much amount of sun exposure. This tree grows mainly as a decorative plant due to its foliage.
To get the perfect fruits, we need to provide high temperatures and sufficient amount of water. It means that we should involve a proper irrigation to cultivate palms. The tree will spread by seeding or suckers during the spring season.
Usually, the gardeners grow this tree due to its fruits. They are unique and sweet. Dates represent the local food for Arabian, Persian, and North African. In fact, there are many types of dates fruit for commercial uses.
Types of Dates Fruit
The most popular type of dates palm is mixed seconds boxes. Well, we can categorize them by their commercial purposes actually. This type of product contains zahidi plus, thory, khalas, and barhee.
It’s perfect for those who want to try various types of dates at once. Both khalas and barhee are quite soft while zahidi and thory are chewy and dry. The texture of dry dates is different as well.
However, there are many other commercial dates that we can enjoy such as thory seconds boxes, khalas premium, and also deglet noor second boxes. The last one is quite popular among Australian with appealing vanilla flavor.
Health Benefits of Dates Fruit
There have been many discussions about health benefits of dates palm fruits. Aside from its delicious taste, dates are popular due to dates nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
100 gram of dates contains 270 calories. When we eat them, we may gain energy revitalization immediately.
For Moslems, dates are the perfect choice to break the fast, especially during the month of Ramadan. Dates contain much of dietary fiber.
Thus, we can avoid LDL cholesterol absorption in our gut. Moreover, the fiber will work perfectly as a laxative. We can avoid a severe disease such as colon cancer. There will be no more chemicals binding in our colon.
Basically, dates palm fruit contains tannins. It’s a type of antioxidants that acts as anti-hemorrhagic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-infective agents. Dates are also popular due to their vitamin A. It will be useful to replenish our eyes and to preserve our healthy skin.
Consuming good amounts of vitamin A also helps us to give protection against lung cancer. Their antioxidants are useful to fights free radicals, so we can avoid deadly diseases including pancreatic cancer. Also, dates are the magnificent source of iron. They contain 0.90 mg iron per 100 gram of dates. Iron is imperative as a nutrient to determine the blood capacity in our body.
Growing Dates Palms Effectively
How can we grow dates palm? Most of them will grow well in Arizona and California. We can find this plant around Florida during the summer or rainy season. However, they will rot and moldy before they mature.
To grow this tree, we need to provide 20˚ F in order to survive. The pollination will occur at 95˚ F. In this phase, the fruits require hot and dry temperature as well as warm nights. The trees grow big up to 100 feet and they can live more than 100 year.
As we can expect, the trees require sufficient space to spread out and to grow. It means that we need to provide lots of space with sufficient rooms to grow both horizontally and vertically. We need both a female and male tree to get the fruits.
Basically, we should choose a spot with abundant sun exposure and well-drained soils. The dates palm can grow in loam, clay, even sand soils. In fact, the tree is quite tolerant of drought but requires much of water when fruiting and flowering. We can plant the trees either in fall or spring for the best results.
Dig a hole twice as the root base. It may loosen the soil well. Fill it with soil so the plant may sit high and the roots will be covered.
Press it and water well to dense the soil around the hole. Young trees grow well with a proper irrigation for months until they set up.
After the planting process of dates palm tree, we need to follow basic instructions about the tree care. Aside from support and irrigation, the tree requires sufficient amount of fertilizer and pest control.
As a perfect fertilizer during the spring season, we can choose manure. We can also use any types of fertilizer with high amount of potassium.
Watch over the diseases and pests and get rid of them sooner as they occur. Once the tree sets up, we don’t need to water it regularly anymore. The tree tends to grow well in dry soil. Moist environment may inhibit its growth whatsoever.
During the growing phase of dates palm, we need to keep away of turf and weeds. They can be troublesome matters for the tree. Overall, people grow dates tree for the fruits. Soft or dry dates are edible for us. We can eat them raw or use them with fillings including pecans, almonds, and many others.
Some dates will be processed into paste and cubes. There’s also date honey namely dibs in Libya. For Moslems, dates will become the first thing to eat during the break fast. It becomes a tradition to eat the dates first. We can also grind and dehydrate any types of dates fruit to form stock feed. Dried fruits are used to feed horses, camels, and even dogs.