March 24, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated May 8, 2021
What you need to know about Medjool dates
One of the things that fill me with pleasure is the fact that there are as many types of dates as you could never have imagined. These sweet tiny oval-shaped fruits come in different forms, sizes, and tastes.
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As a Tunisian, I have been accustomed to deglet nor dates, the translucent super sweet variety unique to these regions. Recently, I have been introduced to another famous variety. The Medjool dates are as promising as the former type. Join me to find out more about this fruit.
Origin and characteristics:
This variety is one o the oldest cultivated varieties of dates. It originates in the Middle East and some regions of North Africa. They have played an important role in the nomadic life and the civilizations that thrived in these regions. They provided food for people and are still being highly revered and excessively consumed.
Like other date varieties, Medjools are grown in hot arid lands. They tolerate high temperatures and thrive in drylands. They are now cultivated in the United States and different Asian regions.
These fruits are characterized by their long large shape and their caramel-like taste. They are soft fruits with wrinkled skin. You might notice a white matter on the exterior; that’s just natural sugar concentrated on the surface.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 48 grams of Medjool dates contain the following data:
- Calories: 133
- Carbohydrates: 36 grams
- Fiber: 3.2 grams
- Protein: 0.8 grams
- Sugar: 32 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Calcium: 2% of the daily value
- Iron: 2% of the daily value
- Potassium: 7% of the daily value
- Copper: 19% of the daily value
- Vitamin B6: 7% of the daily value
- Magnesium: 6% of the daily value
These dates are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. That’s why they make excellent snacks and great additions to multiple recipes.
They might contain significant amounts of sugar and this might be alarming to diabetics’ patients and those trying to monitor their blood sugar levels. However, these dates have a low glycemic index, and hence they won’t be increasing blood sugar levels quickly or more than desired.
What is the difference between Medjool dates and deglet noor dates?
Both varieties are the most commonly cultivated and consumed across the world. Deglet noor dates are smaller in size than Medjool dates. The former is so translucent in the color that you can see the interior kernel if you hold it against the light. This is of course true of premium quality fresh deglet noor dates. Other qualities of the second degree are usually a combination of yellow and brown or just brown.
Medjools are larger in shape, and they are brown-reddish. They are soft but they have wrinkled skin, unlike the other type.
When it comes to taste, one cannot be totally objective and can’t really judge. Both varieties are super sweet, though some say Medjools are sweeter than the dates of light. Both varieties are used in baked goods, made into syrups, and taken as desserts. They are the perfect alternative for refined sugar and unhealthy snacks.
For their nutritional value, both types are extremely beneficial and rich in nutrients. Dates of light, though, contain less fructose and less calcium than the other type.
They also slightly differ in the number of calories; for 100 grams of deglet noor, you will be consuming 282 calories, while for 100 grams of Medjool dates you will be consuming 277 calories. They are both a bit high in calories so you might want to control how much you eat instead of indulging in frenzy eating.
Usage and importance of fresh dates:
Medjool dates are versatile fresh dates. Like other types, they are a staple of the Middle Eastern and some North African regions’ cuisines. In Tunisia, we are accustomed to consuming deglet noor dates more often; in Ramadan, these fruits constitute the basis of our breakfasts.
However, in other regions where Medjools are cultivated, these fruits are an essential part of everyday meals. Both types are used as desserts and snacks to quench between meals hunger.
Besides, they are used to make syrups and jams for morning breakfasts. Sometimes, they are made into pastes to be used in cookies, cakes, and traditional sweets. The paste is usually made from the dried fruits, that is to say, dates of second quality.
One of my favorite recipes with dates is to stuff them with nuts and butter. You can choose the kind of butter you like and choose one or two nuts such as almonds and pistachios, cut the date open and take off the kernel, and stuff the dates first with butter and then add the nuts. These are extremely delicious and worth trying.
Where to find organic Medjool dates?
Organic Medjool dates can be found online on different platforms. Amazon and Nuts are the biggest sellers of these sweet treats.
Several stores have these dates on their shelves; make sure you check the fresh produce section. Walmart and other regional groceries and store chain would definitely have these fruits available.