A Fresh Fruit You Should Try

October 1, 2015   35 Comments

The above bowl is filled with a fresh fruit that looks like a large raisin.

Medjool Dates from Yuma, AZ

Do you know what it is?

Well, until I visited Natural Delights’ farms I didn’t know it was a fresh fruit. This is a bowl of Medjool dates and they are harvested looking exactly like the above photo.

I had always thought that dates were a dried “something” like a raisin (dried grape) or a prune (dried plum). But dates ripen into this dried-looking fruit that is stable at room temperature for long amounts of time. Basically, it is fresh even though it looks dried.

Medjool dates are a great replacement for junk food like candy because they contain 16 essential vitamins and minerals – and they are a sweet treat!

For one Medjool date:

66 calories, 0 g fat, 0. g saturated fat, 18.0 g carbohydrates, 16 g sugar, 0 g protein, 2.0 g fiber, 0 mg sodium, 0 Points+

They are wonderful with coffee or tea and make an excellent portion-controlled dessert.

I learned a lot about Medjool dates when I visited Arizona but the most fun thing was actually harvesting some dates.

Here is a photo of date palms:

The crew there put me and a group of healthy bloggers up into a shorter date palm to actually harvest the fruit. These larger trees have black bags over the fruit - see them below the leaves? I was lifted off the ground in a picker and told to harvest.

Claudia showed me how to open the bag that surrounds the fruit (see the white bag?). All you do is open it over a tray and out fall the dates!

The best part was that you could eat them right away. My fellow blogger ate about 8 before she decided she should slow down. The dates were a little dusty but they are farmed without pesticides so I had a few myself (do not remember how many).

I realize most of you aren’t getting out to a date farm any time soon but these dates are in your supermarket in the fresh produce section.

Natural Delights is in stores nationwide (even in Walmart) and has a coupon for two dollars off – $2 off Medjool Dates.

Do you eat dates? Please share your favorite pairings and recipes.

Natural Delights sponsored my trip to their farms in Yuma, Arizona. No other compensation was provided.

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 35 )

Not a recipe, but I use dates as a sweetener in smoothies. Sounds like you had a fun adventure!

Love fresh dates! I like to cut one open, remove pit; insert half of a walnut; a dab of whipped cream cheese. Enjoy with a cup of coffee. Fine dessert! With WW I have to hold back to only one or two of these special treats..seems like a lot of points but worth it!

I love dates, haven't had any in a few months, thanks for the reminder. And I agree dates are a very good smoothie sweetener, I've used them for my smoothies as well. Figs are Aldo good in smoothies and packs fiber.

What a cool thing to learn first thing in the morning! And I'm delighted to hear that insecticides aren't used on the dates. Thanks for filling us in on where some of our food comes from. Hope you'll be able to give us the inside scoop on more of them from time to time.

Thank you for this post! I looked at the WW app and it says that fresh dates are 0 PointsPlus.

I also make "stuffed" dates, but instead of using cream cheese, I use a dallop of peanut butter for a non-dairy treat.

In the newer WW+ program, a few servings of fruit are allowed each day, and count as 0 points. Although, knowing that one date ~= a small banana, I would limit myself to two dates a day.

I'm in MN and have never seen these at my grocery store. I'll have to look. So I have a question about the bags. At what point do the farmers put the bags over the fruit to protect it for future harvest? What is the growth cycle and maturity time? Do the trees only produce annually? So interesting, I love learning new things about our food!

I have one each evening for a treat. It is my chocolate!

Medjool dates are my 'go to treat,'also. Like Sue, I especially enjoy one stuffed with raw walnut meat. I purchase a large box for $9.something at BJ's. They seem to have the best price there; better per pound cost than supermarkets. They don't need to be refrigerated. I think they're nature's caramels!

When I was a kid, my aunt made a special treat for us. She filled the dates with peanut butter and rolled them in sugar...then place them neatly in a wax paper-lined box. I'll never forget simple, special, and DELICIOUS!!!

I love fresh dates. I put a few into my smoothies to have a natural sweetner.. So yummy!!! I even grab a few and eat as a little snack to tide me over till dinner.

I use dates in homemade Lara bar recipes. Google homemade Lara bars and there are lots of recipes available. You do need a good food processor as the dates are so sticky they really give mine a work out. Then I cut into small squares and freeze for a pick me up or energy after or during exercise instead of stor bough power bars.

Interesting ... I never knew they were a fresh fruit either. Love to know that they are 0 pts on WW (unlike dried fruits). Like some others, we only had them when I was younger, at Thanksgiving - with a walnut inside & rolled in sugar - don't know why we needed the sugar, already sweet!

What about figs? Fresh or dried?

I love those dates. I take five or six to work and eat them in the afternoon when I crave something sweet. They are a bit expensive, but worth the money. Haven't had any lately, but it's on my list for shopping this weekend.

@Colleen - I KNOW isn't it all very cool? I have a few answers. My guess is that the put the bags on after pollination. The trees produce annually and I don't know how long from flower to fruit. argh! I will check with the date people. Thanks for your question!

I like to chop a couple up and add them to my shredded wheat cereal in the mornings, along with a little walnuts or almonds. Naturally sweetens the cereal.

I make muffins and bars for my kids made out of dates and other healthy ingredients. My kids love them!

I did not know they were fresh fruit. I assumed they were dried and hi in calories. I buy them for my husband. Now I will eat some too.

I also use dates to make energy bars to eat before I run. One canister of dates food processed with 1/2 cup natural peanut butter and rolled into balls is awesome! Add mini chocolate chips when you roll them, if desired. Delicious!!

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