Botanical Name: Phoenix dactylifera
Family Name : Pinaceae
The date tree is tall, up to 36 m in height, cultivated or occasionally found self-sown in some parts of India. Its trunk covered with persistent bases of petioles, the base usuaily surrounded by a mass of offshoots or suckers; leaves in open crown, pinnate, up to .5 m long, greyish green; pinnae 20-40 cm long, linear, keeled, lower pinnae modified into spines; flowers in branched spadices, small; fruit an oblong berry, 2.5-7.5 cm long reddish or yellowish brown when ripe.
Origin and Distribution
The date is held in high esteem from ancient times and is one of the earliest fruits cultivated by man. In Mesopotamia, more than 5,000 years old bricks have been found to contain instructions for growing date palms. The ancient monuments of Egypt have been found to contain carved figures of date palms. There are numerous references to the palm and its fruit in the Bible, testifying to its manifold virtues Prophet Mohammed believed that the first date palm was made from the tempered dust which remained after the formation of Adam. The original home of date is believed to be in the Persian Gulf area or in Mesopotamia. It is now classed as one of the standard crops of world agriculture and is widely grown in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Spain, Italy, China and U.S.A.
Properties of date
Nutritive, tonic, demulcent, expectorant, laxative & aphrodisiac.
Forms of Use :- Fruit is eaten raw. Dried fruit is also used.
Food Value of date
Dates are rich in sugars and are eaten fresh or dried. They form an important item of food in the Arabian countries from time immemorial. Analysis of the edible matter of freshly dried dates (edible matter 86%, seed 14%) gave following results (per 100 gms):
The unripe fruit, seed, leaf and root are considered medicinal.
Medicinal Uses & benefits
Dates are widely used in bakery preserves or added in cakes and in dishes with milk, butter, meat, etc; a type of honey is also prepared from them. Dates can be canned as a paste after pitting, grinding and mixing with invert sugar syrup. Date syrup (invert sugar, 70%) obtained by extracting the fruit hot water and concentrating in vacuum, has a mild sweet taste and may be used in the manufacture of gingerbread.
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