Its monsoon time here in India. Hot dusty summers are a thing of past. If its raining then it is cool. Other wise the skies are overcast. It could be sultry and hot too. Or you can feel the cool breezes gently touching us.
It is the time for the nature to rejoice with the showers. So our markets are flooded with seasonal vegetables and fruits. one of them I found was this:
These are fresh dates. These are called Khajoor (Hindi) and Kharjooram (Telugu)Some are red in colour and some are golden yellow to yellow shades. These are one of the ancient fruits and were cultivated since ancient times. it is mostly cultivated in dessert regions as it requires such climate but enough water. it is mostly cultivated in Egypt, Iran and other Arabian countries. India and Pakistan too grow it.
There are many varieties in dates. Its colour, texture and taste depends on its variety. The colour ranges from amber, brown dark brown, black, red and golden.
These dates are eaten after ripening, the fruit you can see above. These are also eaten after complete ripening. They are soft. This is a popular snack during the month of Ramadan-used for breaking the day long fast. This is the time we are also able to get those soft dates in the market because of Ramadan fasting. Other wise also it is available in many big supermarkets and stores selling dry fruits.
The stone is removed before use. This called as pitting. Some fill the dates with, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and other things. Pitted or stoned dates keep for a long time. During season these soft dates can be bought, pitted and can be stored out side refrigerators. In India we use these soft dates as a snack, or make chutneys, halwa, laddu or other sweets and also add the sliced dates to sweet dishes and salads. It is also used in making mukhwas or supari-mouth freshener and digestive aid. This is easier to use than the dried ones. It needs no soaking in water as it is already soft.
Date syrup or honey etc are also available in markets these days.
The dates are completely dried and stored. These are very hard. We Indians use this variety during off season. This is also eaten raw or made into a variety of sweet dishes and chutneys after soaking in water to soften them.
In India the sap/date syrup is used for making date Jaggery and date jelly. It is also used for making alcoholic drinks. The flower and tender leaves are edible and used in some countries in various dishes.
It makes a very good snack. It contains 80% sugar, potassium, iron, boron, cobalt, copper magnesium, zinc and fiber etc. It is used in medicines.
The entire tree like coconut and palm is useful. Its seeds are used used by humans as food and for other reasons, as well as fodder for cattle. Its leaves are used for covering huts, etc. Leaf petioles, its wood is also very useful. Every part of the tree is useful in one way or other such as, making ropes, cloth, construction, crafts, boats etc.