March 25, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated March 25, 2021
what are khouet alig dates
Tunisia is a land of abundant palm groves. The southwestern area of the country is the land of date palm par excellence. Over three hundred cultivars are planted in these lands; nearly all of them are common dates, that is to say, the edible type.
Deglet noor date palm trees are the most famous type; they are rooted both in the soil and the history of the land. They are a national treasure. Alig and Khouet Alig come second in the ranking. These two varieties are widely cultivated and commercially distributed.
The name sounds strange and the type is unknown as well, at least it does not enjoy the same fame as deglet noor dates. That’s why, questions related to this type, its uses, and benefits if any, are frequently heard. In this article, I will be uncovering another secret from the deserts of this evergreen land.
Tunisian dates: types, production, and culture.
Tunisia is a land that celebrates the olive tree. Date palm trees come in the second place. The southwestern regions of the country are the cradle of date palm trees. Other regions of the south also cultivate palm trees but in lesser volumes.
The cultivation of these trees is deeply rooted in the Tunisian culture. Most families, especially in the south, have a tradition of planting at least two to three palm trees in their backyards and private groves.
Oases are an essential landscape in the Tunisian map. They combine a set of know-how passed down through generations of farmers and modern cultivation techniques along with passion towards these trees.
Tunisian dates are been distributed worldwide. They are of high quality and meet international standards. Deglet noor reigns supreme on top of the dates exported mainly to the European Union.
According to a 2017 report, dates account for 12 % of the total value of the agricultural exports. Tunisian dates account for 24 % of the value of dates world trade.
Origin and characteristics of alig:
These dates have been cultivated in Tunisia and Algeria decades ago. They have even predated the cultivation of deglet noor palm trees, according to most records and verbal histories. The later variety became more cultivated because of its high prices both in the national and international markets. Though market imperatives direct the choice of production, other varieties are still revered and produced.
Alig dates are dark mahogany-colored, while khouet alig dates are lighter in color. They both have a long thin shape, but the first is sweeter than the second.
They both have a soft texture, but alig dates are characterized by their wrinkled skin. When it comes to taste, some say that they taste a bit distinctly. A trace of acidity can be tasted on these dates. Other than this, both varieties are nearly identical and can be distinguished only by an expert.
These dates are harvested from October or November to December. They can be sold with or without kernels. Like other types, they are classified into categories of qualities. They are also found with soft or semi-soft textures.
The preservation period differs according to the way of storage. It is preferable that they are consumed within six months maximum.
Uses of these dates:
Because of their relatively cheaper prices, alig and khouet alig dates are being used excessively in baked goods and traditional sweets recipes.
Makroudh is one famous traditional sweet that originates in the city of Kairouan. These sweets are usually and often made with the paste of alig dates. They can also be part of any recipe that requires dates. Otherwise, they make excellent snacks on their own.
alig dates and kouet alig dates are as sweet and delicious as any other date variety.