Brief History Of The Medjool Date

The word “date” entered the English language about the same time as Marco Polo’s travels. The Moors brought dates to Alicante in Spain from North Africa and the fruit continues to grow in Alicante. The quality of the dates grown in Spain is not very good, but even so the dates have a significant impact on the economy of Alicante.

The Spanish carried date palm seedlings and seed to American and attempted to develop a date colony in Cuba in 1513. The first attempt in Cuba failed as the Spanish were attacked by the hostile Indians. The second attempt succeeded, but because of the rain the quality of the dates was very poor and eventually all the date palms were taken out.

The Spanish then left a trail of date palms as they made their way through Mexico up to California. The dates did well in some parts of Mexico, but they never took. The Spanish Friars established missions in California and planted palms along their route in the late 1700’s but few of these date palms yielded fruit. Eventually these seeds made their way to the interior of California. Around 1850 the dates in the central part of California succeeded and the interest in date cultivation increased in the United States.

Around 1912 date pioneers brought Algerian stock plants to California and planted them in Mecca in the Coachella Valley of California. He then made a trip where he brought back about 3,000 date palms, but could not sell them in California so he planted them in Arizona. Another company set up a farm in Mecca and brought back about 14,000 shoots from Iraq and Algeria and planted them in Mecca. Almost all these plants were successful and today the date palm continues to thrive today in hot climate communities of the Coachella Valley including Mecca, Thermal, Coachella and Indio.

The first dates grown in the Coachella Valley are the Deglet Noor and the Medjool Date the King of Dates. The Medjool date is not grown in the large quantities that the Deglet Noor is grown, because it is much more labor intensive and because it is a soft date. The Medjool Date is more of a dessert date, because of its sweetness and is not consumed every day in the Middle East and North Africa.

At one time the Medjool Date was reserved for royalty and their friends and family. The Medjool Date made its way to the United States through the agriculture department after a disease was destroying all the date palm orchards. Shoots were brought back to the United States in an effort to save the Medjool Date from extinction.

The techniques for growing dates are similarly in many places and provide for multi crop farming. In Oman the date palm shades other trees such as citrus or nuts and then the citrus provides shade for sweet potatoes, squash and lentils. The date palm is know as the tree of life and is probably the same tree of life mentioned in the Bible. The date palm is probably known as the tree of life, because nothing is wasted and for many years was the basis of life in the Middle East. The date palm produces the fruit to eat and from the fruit, seeds and the tree itself other products are derived. The leaves and the trunk are used for construction of homes and to fuel fires. The date palm is used to make hats, ropes, mats, tools, cattle feed, and even landfill.

In many places dates are still picked by hand in some places machines are used to shake the trees and cause the date to fall. In most places dates are sold locally, but in the United States dates are sold throughout the country.

Dates are very nutritious and have supported life in the Middle East. Generally grains are credited with giving rise to civilization, but it is almost certain that Western Civilization would not have evolved if it had not been for the date which was a very important food source and to the economies of ancient civilizations including Babylonia.

Dates are not very well known in the United States, but many athletes that discover the date discover the benefits of eating dates. Not only are dates sweet and tasty but also contain very high concentrations of carbohydrates, potassium, and magnesium. The content of the date strongly suggests that they may be good to prevent cancer and this is supported by the low cancer rates of populations where the date is eaten regularly and the low cancer rates.

Users Reading this article are also interested in:
Top Searches on Recipe Ideas:
Date Cake Recipe Cheesecake Dessert
About The Author, Arnold Hernandez
Buy Fresh California Grown Medjool Dates at: California Medjool Dates, Date Palm, Fruit