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what are the various uses of date palm tree for the inhabitants of the sahara desert

February 25, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated February 25, 2021

Desert date palm: it is more than just the use of dry dates

Desert date palm: it is more than just the use of dry dates

Most people believe that there is no flora in deserts. Well, deserts are not only made up of golden dunes. It is true, the greatest parts of deserts are full of sand and you might even get lost in a desert as you would not be able to grasp any living being or sign of life for miles. Yet there is more hidden deep in the heart of such arid lands.

Oases form deep in the deserts, usually around springs or wells of water. These groves are generally home to the tree of life, the desert date palm. They are sublime scenes in the middle of nowhere; might be life saviors for those treading unknown routes.

Join us for once in a lifetime tour and let the sand grains tell us the stories and hidden secrets of these paradises.

Desert date palm:

The jewels of the deserts, phoenix dactylifera, have been around for centuries. It has been the loyal friend of ancient civilizations and the pillar of nomadic life. Old Arabian tales and folklore stories tell the importance of this tree in their lives.

Date palms were widespread in North Africa and the Middle East. It provided ancient Arabs with the necessary elements for living. It was the staple of life, providing food, shelter, ornamental objects, and food for cattle.

Use of palms: traditional creations that never go out of fashion

Both the roots of the palm trees and branches were used to build traditional houses. They made perfect shelter in the scorching sun of the deserts. The breeze inside those houses is refreshing. Actually, the idea of using palm routes and branches in buildings is still in use nowadays. Even five stars hotels do use these elements for decorations for an authentic and unique style. Furniture also can be made of the hard part of palm branches. People make exquisite tables, beds, and chairs out of them.

Traditionally, bags were made of palm branches and leaves. Today, arts and crafts specialists are returning to this old method and incorporating the materials in their designs. They do make exceptional products. These bags might have been used for carrying food and different stuff centuries ago, but now they are on equal footing with bags from Gucci…etc.

The edible products of the Phoenix dactylifera

The desert date palm yields sweet fruits. These fruits have been the staple food for ancient inhabitants of the deserts and now they make an important part of the daily diets of people worldwide. Before we scrutinize the uses of dates and their essential value for our health, let’s focus on something else, another byproduct of the date palm.

Wine might be the drink of the western civilizations; the Middle Eastern and North African civilizations have their distinct drink. ‘Lagmi’ is a drink obtained from palm trees. It is a yellow drink with a taste similar to sweet dates. In Tunisia, it is usually abundant on breakfast tables during the fasting month. The drink can have sedative effects if it becomes too sour.

The process of extracting this drink is really simple. First, you need to choose the tree you want; try to choose one that is far from sources of water. The more arid the place of the tree, the more sugar contents will be found in the drink. Make a hole in the heart of the tree and put a jar beneath it. The pulp of the tree will turn into fluids; that is the drink we are talking about.

The use of dry dates:

Against all odds, dates have proved that they are suitable fruits for all seasons and could satisfy all tastes. They are natural sweets that can satisfy people’s cravings for sugar and are a healthy option too.

There are different varieties of dates, most of them are commercially distributed and can be found in any corner of the world. The Tunisian deglet noor dates are exceptionally delicious and are globally recognized for their unique taste and characteristics.

You can find several types and qualities of deglet noor. Each variety has specific uses. All types can be consumed fresh as snacks or desserts. Yet, the premium quality deglet noor dates are the best option to eat. They have super soft texture, a very sweet taste, and excellent nutritional values.

The use of dry dates is varied and people never stop being creative in this field. One of the few ways to use dry dates is to make them into sweets. ‘Makroudh’ is a traditional Tunisian confectionary. The following is a simple way of baking this food.

Ingredients of the paste:

  • 1 Kg of wet semolina
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 liter olive oil
  • Water as needed

Ingredients of the padding:

  • 200 grams of ground dates
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons of roasted sesame
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Ingredients of the artificial honey:

  • Sugar 4 cups
  • Two cups water
  • Lemon juice 1/2 tablet
  • One stick of cinnamon

Method of preparation:

First of all, knead the paste and leave it to rest. Spread it to form thin layers. Place the mixture of the padding on top and gather the two sides of the thin layer of the paste. Cut into small pieces and place them in the pan with heated oil. At the same time, cook the artificial honey; when it is perfectly cooked with a firm texture pour it on the fried pieces.

Enjoy a delicious homemade confectionary and cherish both the sweet taste and the consequent health benefits of dates.

Desert date palm is a tremendously beneficial tree. It yields excellent dates and pours a multitude of benefits on people.


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