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Want a Date?

Updated on January 26, 2009
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

by guzhengman on Flickr
by guzhengman on Flickr

How About a Date?

How about a date? It is sweet, full of nutrition, and very versatile. It is ancient and respected. No, I don’t mean for us to go out to dinner and a movie. I’m talking about the date palm, one of the oldest known fruit producing trees in the world.

on Flickr by daneseller0127
on Flickr by daneseller0127

The date palm has been documented in history since before any written language was developed. Pictures of palm trees have graced many artifacts found in the Middle East. But it was about 4000 B.C. in modern day Iraq that man first began to deliberately interfere in the fruit production of the date. Nature propagation of the date was by using the wind. When this occurs, very little fruit comes forth. But when the male and female flowers are deliberately planted together, fruit by the ton is available for your enjoyment. The date became extremely important in the lives of the ancient civilizations of the Middle East. As travelers and many of the nomadic tribes were moving across the dry land, the dates found in the welcoming oasis helped get them from one place to another while avoiding starvation or being stranded with a dead horse or camel. The fruits were used to sustain the travelers and the beasts of burden. Amazingly scientists have successfully planted a 2000 year-old date seed. This goes to show how strong dates are to survive the centuries.

by deep-in-thought on Flickr
by deep-in-thought on Flickr
by Pal Skegs on Flickr
by Pal Skegs on Flickr

The date palm can grow as high as 100 feet or more (on average growth is 1 foot a year) with not a branch on them. This “tree” is really a plant and is related to the lily, orchids, and bananas. It has a crown of leaves on top that grow as long as 20 feet. The fruit is produced in bunches very similar to bananas high up in the crown of leaves. Today the harvesting of dates is very similar to ancient times with men climbing the trees and shaking the fruit from the bunches. In some areas, “cherry pickers” are used to assist in this endeavor. The fruit is eaten fresh or dried as many in the States are used to. In most areas the fruit is sold in the same general locale, but dates grown in the United States are exported to various places.

The date palm is known for many uses. The fruit is eaten plain, in various dishes, used to make flour, as a coffee additive, and as animal feed. The young leaves of a palm tree are cooked and eaten as a tender vegetable in some areas. The fronds of branches are used as brooms, fuel, rope, hats, roofs and when dried as walking sticks. The plant stalks or “trunks” are used for housing and bridges. The sap of some of the palms is used in the production of sugar, molasses, and alcohol. It is even used in religious ceremonies.

The three major religions of the area are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. All three of these have strong date references in their scriptures and use the plant in many of their religious ceremonies. Jewish traditions have the date palm as important material in building the religious festival structures and recognized the fruit as one of the holy fruits used in many ceremonies. Christianity uses the palm fronds on Palm Sunday in remembrance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on the Sunday before His crucifixion. Islam probably holds the date palm in higher regard than any other religion. It is heavily stressed in the Koran and Mohammed stressed the palm as valuable property. It is noted and used for its curative characteristics and is treasured throughout the Islamic areas.

It is a symbol of peace and justice. Known for its gracefulness and beauty it is also used for sore throats, colds, fever, edema, and various stomach troubles. In several of the cultures, the date is considered the fruit that Eve gave Adam and was the fruit of the tree of good and evil instead of the Western tradition of the apple.

Today about 6 million metric tons are produced each year throughout the world. About 70% of all that sweetness is from Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Iraq. It is still a valued and respected piece of fruit throughout the world prized for its sweetness and versatility.

Delicious Recipes

Try these delicious recipes for dates:

Date Rum Cake

Date-Chicken Salad

Date Shake

Take a look at the other recipes these sites have for dates. There are hundreds of them waiting for you to try.


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    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Eddie, as I said above I've got to get people on my hubs some how. I noticed how many were using misleading titles about donkeys and so forth so I decided to join them :)

      thanks for the visit and comment.

    • profile image

      Eddie Perkins 8 years ago

      How about a date?  I came running over here thinking someone finally asked me out. :)  None of the girls dated when I was in school.  I know because I asked them all out and they all said no.  Anyway, I loved your hook.

      This is a very informative and interesting.

      Thank you. ~ eddie

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I love dates, but never gave their history and origin much thought. Thanks for all the great info. Oh, and I admit, I got suckered in by the title. Great play on words!

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Zsuzsy, we can all share our addresses once they are made :)

      Froggy - thanks. I'm just beginning to appreciate them.

      Suzanne - thanks for stopping by

      Elena, that sounds good. I'll have to try that some time.

      Shillingbreeze, thanks for visiting and enjoying the fun.

    • chillingbreeze profile image

      chillingbreeze 8 years ago from India

      LOL.. I just misunderstoof it with the dating invitation :D.. Good hub.. and yes, I won't mind getting some. They're good to sevour.

    • Elena. profile image

      Elena. 8 years ago from Madrid

      Very cute title there, RGraf :-) I love dates wrapped in a slice of bacon and deep fried, it's a very popular snack round here :-)

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 8 years ago from Texas


    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 8 years ago from Will soon return to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      Great play on words-RGraf

      I love dates!!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      RGraf! Yum, dates, it is so odd that I bought all the ingredients for date squares on Friday... and here you have just published a hub on dates.

      Great hub kindest regards

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Figs. Have'll to get a few of those and we'll be living life grand :)

    • St.James profile image

      St.James 8 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

      I would love a date or two...throw in some figs, and life is good.