Incorporating Dates Into Your Diet

Bowl of Dates by Mee Lin WoonBefore beginning, allow me to extend a warm Ramadan Mubarak! (Ramadan Greetings) to all the readers of My Halal Kitchen. Thank you for your generosity and kindness in words and deeds in support of this site. May you all have a blessed month!

We can’t discuss food in Ramadan without first talking about the significance of the date fruit…

During a recent shopping trip, I saw several people buying those large, red boxes full of California Medjool dates—one of the earliest signs that Ramadan is fast approaching.

My dad first introduced them to me over a kitchen table full of board games and Sicilian snacks: pistachios, hazelnuts, dried figs and large, plump dates. He often joked with me that those were the only kinds of ‘dates’ I could have at the time. Little did I know then that this fruit would become a very significant part of my adult life and I’m so glad I grew accustomed to its taste when I was so young.

Palm Date Trees While date palm trees (nakhl in Arabic) come from hot and dry climates around the world, it’s fruit (tamr) is beginning to grow in popularity everywhere. The health-conscious consumer is looking to this bite-size snacking option as an alternative to other less desirable ones, thus re-discovering the date in all its varieties as an extremely beneficial addition to one’s diet.

Dates are closely associated with Muslims, even though the palm tree has been around since pre-historic times and is also historically significant to many other cultures and religious groups.

In the Holy Qur’an, the precious date has been mentioned many times as a favorable food. For example, Mary, mother of Jesus, was ordered to shake the date palm tree when she was experiencing the pangs of childbirth in order to eat of the date fruit, thus relieving some of her pain. [1]

Golden Dates They were also consumed as a staple food of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). He used to break his fast with fresh dates before praying; if there were no fresh dates then with dry dates, and if there were no dried dates, he would take a few sips of water. As a result, the Ramadan tradition of breaking the fast with dates has become a sunnah, or action of his, that Muslims readily follow. [2]

Regardless of one’s intentions for eating dates, they are known to be a great source of fiber that can be easily added to one’s diet. They are also high in the B-complex vitamins, magnesium and potassium- vitamins your body needs to eliminate toxins and build healthy bones.

Dates also contain naturally occurring sugars like fructose and glucose, giving your body a good deal of energy without the sugar crash that comes along with most unhealthy, sugar-filled foods. [3]

How to Incorporate Dates into Your Diet

  • Top your cereal or oatmeal with chopped dried dates for added crunch and fiber.
  • Buy the seedless varieties and fill with whole almonds for a great on-the-go snack.
  • Chop and add to salads for a sweet addition to an otherwise savory plate.
  • Dip in heavy cream or yogurt and wrap in bread for a delicious snack.
  • Remove seeds, dice and freeze dates for future baking projects.

 

See more about how you can cook with dates using my favorite recipes: Date and Walnut Tart and my signature dish, Dates & Cream Iftar.

Sources

[1] Surah Miriam in al-Qur’an, 19:23-26

[2] Book of Al-Sawm (Fasting), classed as Sahih by Albani in Sahih Abi Dawood, no.560 as narrated by Anas ibn Malik

[3] www.familynutritiononline.com

12 comments

  1. Dear sis,

    You have a wonderful site..love it! many thanks for your recipe Date and Almond Tart
    I like it and added it to our group at facebook ISLAMIC COOKING RECIPES
    manu love to you and may Allah send you 1001 angels to protect you. Keep on doing the good things!!!
    Fatma

  2. Sounds so, so delicious. My mouth is watering! Alas, I have three children who are allergic to almonds (and all other tree nuts) , so I will have to wait ’til I have an overly ambitious feeling for making desserts so I can make something separate for them!

    Caution: My Halal Kitchen is really hard to browse 95 min/ before iftar!

    One note, frozen pie shells are notorious for containing lard…check labels carefully. Marie Callendars brand (found in Safeway/Dominicks) uses vegetable shortening, I think!

    • Kari- I think you could do without the ground almonds in this one. At least I would give it a try. Are they allergic to almond extract? If so, you could try adding a bit of vanilla extract to the beaten egg, just for flavor. Otherwise, hang on till I post more recipes that don’t contain nuts!!
      Also, the Trader Joe’s brand of pie crusts are great- no lard or any other questionable ingredients, as far as I can tell–and they taste homemade. Thanks for the tip on Marie Callendars. Yvonne

  3. Assalamvalekum Dear, Ramadan Kareem. There was slight spelling mistake in the link in my previous comment, may be bcoz of that it took u somewhere else. Nice to know that you are intrested in participating in the event. I will forward you the details as soon as possible. Have a blessed ramadan. Happy Fasting!

  4. HEY SALAM!!!
    Your so talented, mashallah! love the website. Anyways, so I tried the recipie and it was good. My husband said perfect! I say good because im more of a chocolate person but I really enjoyed it. He loved it! My kids like anything with sugar and they really liked it too!!! It was fun to make too, it was different then the typical cake. One question..the ingrediants list said 1/2 cup whole milk, but the directions did not say where to add it so I assumed add it to the almond mixture because it was pretty thick! Other than that ..awesome and waiting for the next one…looking for a french chocolate pastry..something very creamy..love yah meghan!

    • Meghan, the whole milk was part of the ingredient component of butter. I suggested using “whole-milk unsalted butter” as opposed to butter from cream. In order to save any further confusion, I just removed that part of the list because it’s not a crucial part of the baking process, but merely a preference of mine. You can use any type of butter, just make sure it’s unsalted. I’m so glad your family enjoyed it! Alhamdullilah!

  5. Salaam brothers & sisters,
    Does anyone know where to order some boxes of dates in bulks and how much it costs per kg in quantities of 10kg, 20kg, 30kg, 50kg etc packs/boxes, please?
    In general, which type of dates is the cheapest as I need loads of boxes/packs to eat, loool.

    Thanks

  6. algiers 06/11/2009
    nous proposons à l’export des dattes ( tommoor) d’algerie dite deglet noor
    we propose dates palm deglet noor algerien product
    contact Mr boukoftane mohamed el amine
    agent commercial ( brokers) mobil 00213 551 36 78 63
    medboukoftane@gmail.com

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