Although dates are a popular fruit in many vegan and vegetarian recipes, you may not know where they come from or that you can grow them yourself. Date palms are a wonderful addition to your landscape and can produce fruit for decades to come. You can have dates at home rather than paying high prices for them in the grocery store.
Learning about the origin of the fruit, how it is harvested, and its value in your diet can bring new depth to the sweet snacks you enjoy from the date palm. The palm tree experts at Desert Empire Palms can teach you all you need to know about growing a producing date palm and when to harvest your dates.
Contact our Coachella Valley palm growers at Desert Empire Palms today to get a date palm of your own.
Dates: Nature’s Candy
The most well-known date is the Medjool date, which is larger, softer, and sweeter than dates from the Deglet palm variation. Their sweetness, texture, and size make them the most expensive date to purchase in stores. Luckily, you can harvest dates from your palm for years to come once planted. The Medjool palm is a more expensive variation for your landscape but it will be an investment worth making.
Both the Medjool and Deglet date palms will produce dates approximately 3-8 years after being planted. They will produce at their highest rate after 15-20 years. With proper climate and cultivation, a mature Medjool date palm can produce 150-225 pounds of fruit per year and a Deglet Noor can produce 200-300 pounds. Dates can be stored for up to a year after harvesting.
For both Medjool and Deglet harvesting, the bottom two-thirds to three-fourths of all fruiting strands, or some entire strands are cut off. (These techniques do not reduce the total weight of the fruit crop as the remaining dates will become larger.)
The fruit goes through four stages of ripening:
- Immature green (kimri)
- Mature full-colored but astringent (khalal)
- Soft with full size and weight (rutab)
- Hard, much drier, and less astringent (tamar)
Rain and high humidity can ruin pollinated fruit when it is in the second to the fourth stage of ripeness, so it is something to be prepared to combat. Date farmers sometimes place a protective bag around each date cluster to prevent access to the dates and for rain protection in some climates.
The Nutritional Value of Dates
Dates are very rich in both vitamins and minerals. They contain more potassium than an orange or a banana per ounce. They have 20 different kinds of amino acids, which aid in the digestive process. Dates also contain polyphenols, a plant antioxidant that can destroy disease-causing free radicals.
Dates are also rich in oil, calcium, sulfur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, protein, and fiber. This fiber helps with the digestive process along with amino acids. Dates are fat-free, cholesterol-free, and very low in sodium. Unfortunately, dates are almost entirely sugar, but they do have many redeeming qualities. The Sugar to Fiber ratio is roughly 8:1.
Desert Empire Palms: Your Source for Home Grown Dates
If you love dates and are designing a landscape in Southern California, you are in luck. Dates grow well in our Southern California climate and Coachella Valley’s Desert Empire Palms has the selection of date palms you need. Growing your dates may seem like a stretch, but you can do it with our help and reap the harvest you sow for years to come.
Let the team of date palm experts at Desert Empire Palms in Coachella Valley help you incorporate palm trees into your landscape. You may never have to shop for dates again!