Dates in Saudi Arabia are an iconic symbol of hospitality and a necessary element of daily life in the Kingdom. The holy Quran mentions Date Palms 22 times. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) reportedly declared that a home with dates is never destitute. Dates have been produced and traded throughout the region since ancient times. Today, Saudi Arabia is the third-largest producer of dates worldwide. Dates are high in magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper, calcium, and potassium, among other nutrients and minerals. People break the Ramadan fast by eating several dates because of their health benefits. They are also present in cakes, cookies, sweets, pies, and bread. Maamool, a Middle Eastern cookie filled with date pudding, is the most popular in the whole Middle East.
History of dates
The Date Palm is the world’s oldest cultivated tree. Recent discoveries suggest that 4,000 B.C. old remains of date palms are present in Mesopotamia and Nile Valley in Egypt. The Date Palm (Phoenix Dactylifera) holds immense importance in the Middle East, as they offer water, shade, rest, and sustenance since primeval times. Owing to old farming practices, dates can be found in abundance in different countries of the Middle East. Also known as ‘tree of life,’ the date palm was once relied upon by ancient civilizations for constructing simple houses. These civilizations also used its fruit for medicinal purposes.
Religious significance of dates
Date palms are mentioned in the texts of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. They also have references in the book of Holy Quran over 20 times and are deeply tied with Islam. Dates are a symbol of riches in the Arabian world, having been officially recognized on the UNESCO Intangible Heritage list. In the Middle East, it’s still usual to welcome visitors with fresh dates and warm greetings.
Importance of dates during Ramadan
Dates are healthy to consume during Ramadan as they have abundant sugar, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and carbs. When fasting, the body is prone to modest health issues such as low blood sugar, headaches, and fatigue. Dates have minerals that can help ease these symptoms while also providing energy. According to Hadith literature, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would break his fast with ripe dates. As a result, eating dates at this time has become a spiritual connotation during Ramadan.
Benefits of Saudi dates
Dates contain several nutrients that give various health benefits to the human body. Dates lower cholesterol, strengthen bones, promote brain health, improve digestive health, help to detoxify the body, control diabetes, improve skin, aid weight loss, solve insomnia, and improve heart health.
Types of dates in Saudi Arabia
Dates are one of the most popular fruits in Saudi Arabia. Here is a list of the best dates in Saudi Arabia one can purchase on a trip to the Kingdom:
Ajwa dates are a renowned Khajoor family known to Muslims as ‘Holy Dates’ and are the most royal of all dates. These dates are authentic to Saudi Arabia, and they have a light sweetness and a silky texture. It is a must-have item for Muslims traveling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj and Umrah. It is stated that eating seven Ajwa dates every day can aid physical healing and promote long-term energy.
Anbara Dates are among the best Madinah dates. They have delicately structured skin and are huge, soft, juicy, and aromatic. Anbara is relatively large, yet they are light and not overly sweet, making them a great snack at any time of day. Anbara dates also find their origin in Saudi Arabia and the kingdom export the dates to various other countries in the world.
Barhi or Barhee is a popular date variety with thick flesh and a strong flavor. These dates taste better when they are fresh rather than dry. It is one of the sweetest and creamiest date. The sweetness of the Barhi Date varies based on its ripeness level. They are smaller and more spherical than other varieties. The yellow Barhi date has a crunchy apple-like texture and a golden matte appearance.
Khadrawi and Khadrawy are two other names for the Khudri dates. Khudri has a small and large date variety with flakes on the skin. These dark brown dates are somewhat sweet, chewy, and do not have much moisture. Furthermore, Khudri dates are high in magnesium and fiber, making them beneficial to digestive health.
Mabroom dates are the most often consumed variety and are well-known for their rich taste and quality. The skin of these elongated dates is light crimson to bronze in color and has a candy-like texture. Mabroom dates are incredibly soft, nutritious, tasty, and have many health benefits. They include critical vitamins and minerals, as well as a considerable quantity of fiber, in addition to being a solid source of energy.
Safawi dates are a delicate, moist date variety grown mainly in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Madina region. The deep black color of Safawi dates distinguishes them from other dates, which come in medium and extended sizes. Safawi dates’ main health benefit is their high nutritional content, including elements like iron and calcium. Fibers, sulfur, iron, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, and magnesium are also present in abundance.
Sagai is a traditional date type from the Arabian Peninsula that is particularly popular in Saudi Arabia. The two-toned color of these dates is what makes them well-known worldwide. The tip is golden and dry, while the rest of the body is brown and velvety. Sagai dates contain antioxidants and nutrients that, among other things, may lessen the risk of heart disease, improve digestion, and support heart health.
Sukkari dates are a well-known date variety in the Middle East. These dates are deliciously sweet and melt at the tongue. Sukkari dates have rich flavor, and high nutritional value. Locals use Sukkari dates in a variety of sweet and savory meals because of their delicious sweetness.
Zahidi dates are nutrient-dense foods with high fiber content. Iron, potassium, B vitamins, flavonoids, antioxidants, and nearly all twenty amino acids can be found in them. Zahidi dates are oval in shape and medium in size. They have light brown skin with a thick, golden interior flesh encasing a single seed. Eating these dates can prevent many ailments, including dyspepsia and anemia, and boost memory and vision.
Popular date recipes in Saudi
Locals serve fresh dates with a cup of coffee or Gahwa to balance out the sweetness. However, they can be eaten in various ways, from savory appetizers to satisfying desserts. Fresh dates can be split in half, put on toast with honeyed ricotta cheese, or diced and sprinkled over ice cream. On the other hand, dates are commonly present in baked products to provide sweetness and texture to cakes, breads, and cookies. Dates are an essential ingredient to Ma’amoul, a delicious cookie. Dried dates can be eaten alone or chopped and tossed into salads or sprinkled on hot oatmeal as a snack.
Places to buy dates in Saudi Arabia
Dates are widely sold throughout the country. Here is a list of places where one can find the best dates in Saudi Arabia:
Makkah: One can shop for dates at the date market in Al-Kakiyah, Makkah. The market offers a variety of dates at very economical rates.
Madinah: Central Dates Market in Madinah has over 100 stores selling every kind of date imaginable. Ajwar, Anbar, Safawi, Mabroom, and the delectable ‘Queen of Dates,’ Sukkari, are available here.
Riyadh: From August through November, Riyadh Date Souks are the best place to buy fresh dates in Saudi Arabia.
Jeddah: Jeddah Dates Market is a well-known date market where one may find a wide variety of dates at reasonable costs.
With a lot of medicinal benefits and religious significance, Saudi Arabia dates are one of the significant consumable items. Tourists can go to any city’s historic souq (market) to look for freshly harvested dates, talk to merchants about their unique types, and barter for the best price.
Dates in Saudi Arabia FAQS
What makes Saudi dates special?
There are around 3,000 different types of dates globally, but Saudi dates are the tastiest dates, making them one of the healthiest fruits to consume.
What makes Ajwa dates unique?
Ajwa dates are high in antioxidants and help to enhance the immune system. It also contains selenium and other vital elements that may help to prevent cancer. Including Ajwa dates in your daily diet can help the immune system function properly.
What is Ajwa dates 1 kg price in saudi arabia?
Ajwa dates price in KSA for 1 kg is around SAR 35 to SAR 100.
Are Anbara Dates sweet?
Anbara dates are fairly sweet and thus, can be consumed as light snacks.
What is the flavor of Mejdool dates?
Mejdool dates have a caramel flavor.