The Fruit of Kings
Native to Morocco, Medjool dates are just one of hundreds of varieties of dates, but they’re the only one known as “the fruit of kings.” Medjool dates were originally eaten by royalty and thought to fend off fatigue
Tasting Notes from the Curator
Medjool dates have a sweet, caramel taste and chewy texture. Medjool dates are now grown in warm climates globally, and research shows these ancient energy-boosting claims may be true. They’re also high in vitamins and nutrients that can contribute to other health benefits.
Occasionally, dates will present itself with white stuff on its skin. This is normal and totally fine to eat. The white stuff is the natural sugar crystalizing and making its way to the outside of the date.
Medjool dates have tons of different uses. They are used to make syrup, added to salads, included in coconut based rice recipes. They can also be caramelized ( crème brûlée style) or used to sweeten cocktails. You may also opt to try a Parcha-Dosheme Plov (a traditional Azeri Recipe, referred as pilaf in other countries):
- Wash basmati rice thoroughly under lukewarm water until the water runs clear.
- Soak the rice in a large container filled with lukewarm water mixed with 1 tablespoon of salt.
- In a medium frying pan, heat a few tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
- Add some chestnuts and stir-fry for about 3 minutes.
- Add your dates along with dried plums and even dried apricots. Stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Add raisins and stir-fry for 1 more minute. Remove from heat.
- In a large non-stick saucepan, combine 10 cups (2,5l) of water and 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil. Drain the soaked rice and add it, in batches, to the pot. Boil for about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, to prevent rice grains from sticking to the bottom. Watch the rice closely so as not to overcook. It must be barely done - not fully cooked and not too soft.
- Drain the rice. Set aside.
- Rinse the pot you boiled the rice in. Melt 1 tablespoon (15g) butter over medium heat. Arrange the meat (you may choose chicken or lamb) in one layer at the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper, to taste.
- Follow with the layer of sliced onions. Simmer over medium heat uncovered, without stirring, for about 3 minutes.
- Place half of the rice in the pot over the onion. Arrange the dried fruits and chestnuts in one layer on top of the rice. Pile the rest of the rice on top of the fruits, mounding the rice in the shape of a pyramid. Pour 1 tablespoon melted butter over the rice.
- Place a clean dishtowel or 2 layers of paper towel over the pot and cover firmly with a lid to absorb the steam. Lift the corners of the towel over the lid.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. Then open the lid and sprinkle the saffron water on top of the rice.
- Cover again and simmer for another 30 minutes.
- When ready to serve, gently take 1 spatula full of rice, fruits and meat at a time, placing it on the large serving platter.
Dates will be sent in vacuum sealed bags. You may store them in same packaging before consuming. They are best consumed within 1 week from arrival to you. For longer storage, you can choose to place in an air tight container for up to 6 months, provided they are in a cold, dry place.
Occasionally, dates will present itself with white stuff on its skin. This is normal and totally fine to eat. The white stuff is the natural sugar crystalizing and making its way to the outside of the date. As they age, the sugars in the date will gradually move to the surface, forming little sugar white spots. Fret not, these are not mold.