Thursday, December 1, 2016

Updates for Medjool Dates

Yesterday's posting on Medjool Dates sparked reader interest on dates and where to buy them. So it prompted me to do some investigating.  
Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree and are grown primarily in dry, arid regions, such as the Middle East and parts of California. Though dates are often used as an ingredient in sweets and other recipes, they offer several nutritional benefits when eaten fresh and pitted.

There are many varieties of dates available worldwide, but the Medjool date is one of two of the most commercially produced varieties within the U.S. The other most commonly produced is the Deglet Noor date, but Medjools are larger, softer and sweeter.

Medjool dates can be consumed fresh or dried, and it’s common for them to be dried, which lengthens their life span and prevents early spoilage. Medjool dates have a deep brown skin color with a flavor that can be described as caramel-like. When holding a dried medjool date in your hand, you first feel its firm yet wrinkled texture, but don’t make any quick judgments — upon biting into a medjool date, you will see that the inside is actually moist and meaty.

Medjool dates are packed full of vitamins, minerals and fiber, the health benefits are remarkable. These edible sweet fruits of the date palm tree make great natural sweeteners and sugar alternatives. Not only delicious but have also been proven to decrease cholesterol and boost bone health — and these are just a couple of the many reasons to add Medjool dates to your diet.

My biggest surprise in further reading was the health benefit- increase in fiber. Dates are loaded with fiber. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, just one pitted date contains 1.6 g of fiber, or 6 percent of the recommended daily intake. Fiber is known for its ability to help lower cholesterol and fight and prevent obesity, heart disease and colorectal cancer.

With that being said Medjool Dates are a little pricier than regular dates. Another surprise was their availability. Generally they are in organic produce section of the grocery store. 
This is not a complete list but some places to get you started
All Traders Joes stores
Upper Midwest Brainerd/ Baxter/Walker/Pequot Lakes    
Cub Foods-Super One-Life Preserve Natural Foods (Brainerd) Crow Wing Food Co.  (Brainerd)
Twin Cites, MN
Hy Vee, Cub Foods, Kowalski, Byerys
Florida/Southern Region
East Coast
West Coast

My friend Denise weighed in today on the availability of Medjool Dates with a very good alternative. 
Medjool dates are hard to find. Any large dates will work fine. I made this at Sonoma culinary school in CA- just insert Asiago cheese in the slit date; brush applewood smoked bacon with smoked paprika on 1 side & cut bacon into 3 pieces; wrap each date with 1 piece of bacon , with paprika side against date; secure bacon with toothpick & roast at 425 about 6 min until bacon browned on bottom, then turn dates and roast until bacon is cooked , about 5 min. Longer. Transfer to plate; cool slightly. Remove toothpicks. Delicious and easy!

Thanks Denise this recipe sounds delicious!

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