That night I was fetched from Abu Dhabi airport, one of the things that caught my attention were the date palm trees. These seemed like parading and accessorizing a grand entrance in the streets. “At least it is not all sand here as I expected”, I bravely did kid the driver. I think I was subconsciously engrossed with these trees, evidenced by the number of photos I took at different occasions since the day I laid eyes on them.
At the heart of Elektra Street in June 2008, that was the first time I saw its fruits covered by green nets, just like the way that some of the mangoes are covered in the Philippines. “Those are Arabian dates”, a colleague confirmed.
Date palm trees are said to have originated from Saudi Arabia and were planted to other countries upon discovering that these are nutritious and generally charming as a crop. In Arabic countries though, their dependence and consumption of it has rooted religiously.
The fruits are seasonal. That explains the preserved types being sold in the market. With regard to the quality of harvests, it is a common knowledge to the locals that the poor ones are being fed to the donkeys and/or other animals. This make me more conscious of the pricing now.
Last December, I bought several packs of premium dates covered by Swiss chocolates. Most of which were part of my pasalubong. I liked it, the ones covered by praline in particular. Admittedly, I have never tasted any fresh dates yet. I thought it is more manageable to try the coated or flavored ones (with durian fruit on my mind). But after a few research, I learned that the juicier the date fruit is, the better. Especially that in its fresh form it contains zero fat and cholesterol.
There are at least 300 types of commercialized dates. I do not mind exploring food. But let us see how I would fare with this fruit.
In a house without dates, the inhabitants are hungry. – Prophet Mohammed.
That explains why dates are a regular on the desk of the locals. They told me that they can survive the day without taking any complete meal as long as they have these. And in ancient times, the keeping of a sound body was attributable to these fruits. I think this is one important bit of their culture that will always be preserved through time. The same way that our balut, lambanog and kakanins will always be appealing to (most) of the Filipinos’ taste buds.
Have you tasted an Arabian date?