We all know what dates are. It is a flowering plant species widely cultivated all over India for its sweet fruit. Dates are very nutritious. It is rich in fiber and has excellent benefits in promoting brain health. Dates are even called natural sweeteners. It has excellent antioxidant properties. As it has so many health benefits, even pregnant women are advised to take dates every day while they are pregnant. Usually, two types of dates are found. One is table dates, and another one is processed dates.
Harvesting of dates
Harvesting of dates is a hard nut to crack. It is a labour-intensive process. The person has to climb at the height of 75 feet. He has to collect the pollen and dust it to female trees to have a good harvest. When we look at the palm trees where dates are brownish in a color that means it has ripened and needs to be harvested. At that time, dates look like a large raisin. One needs to protect it from birds by putting it in netted bags. The dates usually grow at the top of the tree. The majority of date pickers climb to more than 50 -60 feet to pluck dates. It is very difficult to pluck dates from the palm trees. Only trained people can do it. Some dates are very soft. So, they need to be plucked very carefully. Some dates are not ripened. So, they need to be ripened by keeping them under the sun. We can even ripen them by keeping them in a brown bag. Once every date is ripened, they need to be washed in water, and then they are put in the container, and we need to freeze them for 24 hours. By freezing them, there will not be any growth of bacteria. After that, the dates are kept at room temperature for few days. After that, most of the dates are stored in air-tight containers and kept in a freeze. Usually, dates have a long shelf life. They can be held in the refrigerator for a longer time, and their nutrients are not lost.
The date palm trees start fruiting at an average of 5 years, and one tree almost produces 400-600 kg of dates.
Processing of dates
The main constituents of dates are sugar, water, protein pectin ash, and crude fiber. In actual dates are the fruit that contains 80 percent sugar. So we say dates are a natural sweetener. Dates are grown in massive sunshine with a very little amount of water.
The processing of dates includes a lot of steps like cleaning, grading, heat treatment, drying, fumigation, pitting, pasteurization, coating, and then packing. So, it involves a lot of processes. All the processes are done carefully and require highly skilled labourers. They are trained in how to process dates.
Dates marketing strategy
The date fruit is popular in the Middle East and North Africa region. In 2016 the business trade in dates had reached$1.4 billion, which is five-time than that in 2001. Tunisia is the World’s most significant exporter in dates. In 2017 it has exported around $227 million worth of dates. Iran exports around $160 million worth of dates each and every year. India is the World’s biggest importer of dates.
There are numerous benefits of dates in our day in and day out life. Dates are natural sweeteners—that why it is used extensively in food industries and various cuisine.
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