Dates are an integral part of Ramadan, and have been a staple in the middle east for thousands of years. Mentioned many times in the Quran, they hold great importance to Muslims. The prophet Muhammed was said to have broken his fast on ripe dates; if none were available, then dried dates or water. Dates are a good way to break fast, as they are easily digestible and full of simple sugars that help to replenish energy quickly (as well as having all kinds of vitamins and nutrients). No wonder they are the first thing we eat for l-ftur!
There are many different kinds of dates available for a wide range of prices. Here in Morocco we can find local dates, as well as Algerian and Iraqi (at least, this is what I’ve been told. I would have no clue where a date comes from, as I’m quite the date rookie. They all look alike to me) One of the more popular varieties is the medjool, originating from Morocco. Back in the 1920’s, disease threatened them and 9 healthy offshoots were rescued from Moroccan date palms to be shipped to California. Supposedly all Californian Medjool dates are descended from these 9 plants that originated in one grove in Morocco.
Along with many other foods (like figs), I had never eaten dates before coming to Morocco. Fortunately for me, I now love dates! So…
Go eat a date!
Ramadan Kareem! (Happy Ramadan!)