The idea of writing this article about dates , came to our mind after a meeting we had with our Yemeni friends. One of these guys brought some sort of cookies that his mother had made with oat flour and dates and they were very delicious. This guy mass produced these cookies and It has been about 4 years from now that he has made a business with these delicious cookies and been selling them in Canadian market.
The point I want to mention about this story, is the various uses of dates. You can consume dates right after you pick them from the palm tree or you can store them. If the dates are stored in a standard way, they can be consumed even after 1 year is passed. In addition to storing them, they can be processed and used in different products.
We have explored and found out about products that can be made with date fruits and date seeds. Here are the results:
About 40% of dates produced in Iran are usually turned into a waste due to the bad weather and nonstandard harvesting, storage and packaging process.
In general, in addition to the importance of dates in nutrition (especially in the southern regions of Iran), products such as liquid sugar syrup (glucose), ethyl alcohol, animal feed, date flour and sodas can be made with this fruits. They are also used in making breads, marmalades, candies, chocolates, yeasts and so on.
We will briefly write about the uses of date fruits below:
1- Dates syrup and date honey:
It is an extract from date juice in which colloidal substances and most of its pigments are taken and it is in the form of a thick liquid like honey. Date honey contains all the soluble ingredients of dates and is used in soda, chocolate, ice cream, marmalade and candy industries and in confectioneries.
2- Liquid date sugar:
It is a refined syrup in which all the salts are taken and it is a mixture of sugars like glucose, fructose, sucrose, with a concentration of 75 degrees Brix.
3- Date sap:
It is the edible sap that is made from the meaty part of dates. The process of making it is mostly done in traditional ways mostly in date-growing areas in the south of Iran. In the traditional method, dates are poured into special tanks and due to the pressure on them, a juice comes out of the bottom of the tank which is the sap. In the traditional method about 15% of sap is obtained and if this operation is done in factories, up to 60% of dates will be extracted.
4 – Date vinegar:
This vinegar is made out of mashed dates, heated at a temperature of 35 to 40 degrees Celsius. In general, Three hundred to four hundred liters of vinegar can be obtained per a hundred kilos of dates.
5- Edible yeasts:
Yeast can be made from date sap. The date yeasts are rich in protein and vitamins and are used in animal feed and bakery.
6- Chopped dates:
In this product, the size of the dates is 3.8 or 16.3 inches and all the parts of them are covered with oat flour, soy flour or a mixture of dextrose or any substance that prevents the dates from sticking. This product is usually used with cereals or in baked products such as cakes, breads and pastries.
7- Pressed pieces of dates:
In this product, the date is first passed through a strainer with holes with a diameter of 3.8 inches. Through this operation, pieces of dates with a diameter of 16.3 to 1.2 inches are created.
These pieces are then immersed in dextrose solution to even out the size of the pieces, and finally dried.
This product has less moisture than chopped dates. This method is used when the pieces of dates are completely uniform and have a certain size.
8- Mashed dates:
Mashed dates are consumed with nuts such as walnuts and hazelnuts, as well as fruits and chocolate. This product is also used for making date chocolate, date desserts, sodas and sweets such as almond and date rolls, date and coconut rolls and date cluster bars.
9- Date paste:
Another product is date paste which is made by straining second and third grade dates. This paste is used in baking sweets, baby food and etc… It is also used as a natural sweetener in cooking and if it is not sweet enough, you can add some natural sugar to it. Spices, rice bran or wheat bran, walnuts and hazelnuts or other nuts can be added to this paste and make a product full of protein, fiber and minerals.
10- Full fiber date:
It is made by adding 5.7 grams of dietary fiber to 100 grams of date and is high in fiber so it can be used medically and is good for patients suffering from hyperlipidemia.
11- Date sugar:
On of the other date products is date sugar. It is prepared by cutting a V-shaped slit in the end part of the trunk of the palm tree (where the green leaves connect to the trunk). A very tasty and sweet juice is extracted from that part, the juice is later turned into sugar in the factory and when the juice is fermented, its sugars turns into alcohol. From one hectare of sugarcane, sugar beet and palm tree, 7, 2.5 and 7.5 tons of sugar can be obtained. In addition to sugar, the remaining pulp can be used for animal feed.
12- Distilled tarooneh (tarooneh syrup):
Another product that is obtained from the palm tree in date industry is distilled tarooneh. Taroneh’s fresh skin has medicinal properties and is mainly used in these fields. For example, rubbing taroone paste on the gums strengthens them and treats pyorrhea. Consuming this product can help with diarrhea and nausea as well. Distilled tarooneh has numerous properties for strengthening the nerves, treating insomnia, preventing hair loss and enhancing sexuality.
13- Palm tree cheese:
The palm tree cheese is the inside part of a tarooneh which is found on the tip of the female palm tree branch and looks like cotton candy. Arabs call it Tala’ and Iranians call it panir.
14- Date seed flour:
Date seed contains 51.62% carbohydrates, 16.2% fiber, 49.8% oil, 46.6% water, 12.1% minerals and 22.5% protein, therefore, many products can be made out of them.
Date seeds are usually ground and used for making bread or animal feed and can be replaced up to 15% with barley flour in poultry diets.
15- Date seeds uses in industry:
Goldsmiths and silversmiths make charcoal from date seeds and use it to polish silverware or to polish some metals and this is one of the most popular industrial uses of date seeds.
In rural areas, palm tree leaves and trunks are used to cover buildings and bridges, and its wood is used in the wood-making, paper-making, chip-making and fiber-making industries.
Other uses for dried palm tree leaves and trunk:
– Creating canopies when harvesting, collecting and storing crops and fencing young seedlings, especially citrus seedlings.
– In many parts of the country, the leaves of the palm trees are used for fishing and making paravans.
our other articles