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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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35 Comments:

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

on October 1, 2015

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!

on October 1, 2015

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.

on October 1, 2015

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.

on October 1, 2015

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

on October 1, 2015

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

on October 1, 2015

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.

on October 1, 2015

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!

on October 1, 2015

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

on October 1, 2015

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!

on October 1, 2015

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 those...so simple, special, and DELICIOUS!!!

on October 1, 2015

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.

on October 1, 2015

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.

on October 1, 2015

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?

on October 1, 2015

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.

on October 1, 2015

@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!

on October 1, 2015

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.

on October 1, 2015

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

on October 1, 2015

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.

on October 1, 2015

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!!

on October 1, 2015

Although I'm not a vegan - I owe my love of dates from vegans :-) I just eat them plain or add to my home made almond milk.

Monica.

on October 1, 2015

I love dates! They are delicious and are like healthier candy!!!

on October 1, 2015

I use them to make Larabar copycats. See recipes for Lara Babies on Chocolate-Covered Katie's website. So quick, easy and tasty.

on October 1, 2015

What a wonderful post today. I love these dates but like you, I thought they were dried. I learned something new today. Thanks.

on October 1, 2015

Whaaat! I am blown away and intrigued! We learn everyday and yes I do like dates. I usually eat in the winter.

on October 1, 2015

I'm not usually a date type of person (I grew up with them, but was never really a fan of them), but over the summer I added them in my smoothies because a lot of healthier smoothies say to add that instead of other sweeteners and its ok. Also I did a few RAW recipes and in the crust there were dates for the sweeteners and to bind the crust together and it was pretty good. Actually it became too sweet for me. I can have them every once and a while.

on October 1, 2015

We just went to Israel and the Date Palms are every where. Our driver pulled over to the side of the road and picked a few and handed them out in our van. Delicious!! Had not thought of having them at home. Thanks for the info!

on October 1, 2015

I've never eaten dates and your description of them, along with the previous comments made them a "must try" new food. I picked up a few when I was on my way home from WW this am. Soooo good. I agree with Marlene; they do have a rich caramel flavor.

Thanx.

on October 2, 2015

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on October 3, 2015

Although we don't eat them often, they are so good with cream cheese alone. The taste combo/contrast is delightful!!

on October 4, 2015

Medjool dates are divine. Nature's candy. My advice is to get them PITTED. Those pits can be hard on the choppers!

on October 4, 2015

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.

on October 28, 2015

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 store bought power bars.

on October 28, 2015

Medjool dates are DIVINE! I only get the pitted kind, if possible

on December 27, 2017

Whaaaat?? I also never knew they were a fresh fruit. I assumed they were in the dried fruit category as well. Well, what an eye opener! I really enjoy these. I bought what I thought were fresh dates in my local store. I chalked it up to not really knowing how to pick them out. They were yellow in color (not brown at all) and were very dry and alum-y (kinda like persimmons before they ripen) and I was totally disappointed thinking that I would not really be able to enjoy dates on WW. Snack Girl, you just made me very, very happy!!

on September 8, 2019


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