How to select dates to buy
Grown in North Africa and Israel, there are several varieties, but only a handful are imported to USA, However, dates have been grown in North America from some time ago.
Colours range from honey yellow, red to brown, the last of which is the most common. The mahogany brown Medjool variety is the sweetest, and tastes a little like toffee.
Dried and fresh dates are available the whole year round, but the fresh type are best around November to January.
Fresh dates should be plump and moist with glossy skins. Dried dates, though a little wrinkly, shouldn’t look emaciated, and should still be plump and glossy, with an even colour. They are sold whole, packaged in long narrow boxes, or pressed into blocks.
Choosing which dates to buy will depend on the quantity and what you are going to use them for or how you would like to eat them.
For baking or where you need a large number of dates, the dried dates can be great. They are super easy to chop and throw right into a scone mix or a tagline, but if you want them to be moister, you can soak them in hot boiling water before use. This makes them more ‘squidgy,’ which is excellent if you need them to act as a cover. You can soak them in tea or brandy for a more adult treat.
On the other hand, if you only need a small number of dates, you can spend a few dollars on notable dates to top a cake or a salad to make a massive contrast on the look, the texture, and the taste of your masterpiece.
If you want to make stuffed dates, try not sticky dates from the inside, and the pit can be easily separated from the flesh. An excellent example of dates suitable for stuffing is Sayer, an Iran-produced date.