Let’s go on a first date… with JOOLIES! We’d like for you to get to know dates and fall head-over-heels in love with them, just like we have. We promise this won’t be as awkward or nerve-wracking as your last unfortunate match on Bumble… Swipe right on Joolies’ medjools and you’ll end up deleting the app after your first bite.
In all seriousness, we’ve got a list of fun facts to share with you about this endlessly interesting California Superfruit. Some things you might’ve heard before, but others might surprise you. Let’s dive right in!
So… where are dates from?
The exact place of origin for dates, or the date palm, is not entirely certain. However, experts assume it was initially cultivated in Egypt and Mesopotamia. They trace back to as early as 5,000 to 6,000 BC and have played a major part in Middle Eastern and Northern African cuisine and an important aspect in many of the cultures and religions of the region.
Fun fact #1: Dates are considered the oldest cultivated fruit in the world with fossils suggesting that they were around 50 million years ago.
Fun fact #2: In Morocco, the medjool date was referred to as the “king of dates”. This was because it was reserved only for Moroccan royalty and their guests. They were considered the more expensive variety of date due to the labor intensivity of growing and harvesting them.
Fun fact #3: The date palm was actually a popular garden plant in Roman peristyle gardens due to its tropical aesthetic. They weren’t able to harvest the fruit to eat it because of the temperate weather in Italy, so they were planted more for looks and as a symbol of victory.
Where are dates grown today?
Today, dates of all varieties can be found only in tropical and subtropical regions across the world, including Canary Islands, northern Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, Pakistan, India, and in southern California, Arizona and southern Florida in the United States.
Fun fact #4: In the United States, 95% of the medjool dates are grown in the Coachella Valley of California (just like Joolies!). They grow best in this area due to the hot and dry weather and immense amounts of golden California sunshine.
Where did the name “date” come from?
With such a long history, you might be wondering how this ancient treasure of a fruit earned its name. This brings us to another fun fact about dates.
Fun fact #5: Due to its elongated, finger-like shape, the fruit’s English name (derived from Old French) and its Latin name both come from the Greek word for “finger”, dáktulos.
How do date palms grow?
In order to grow, harvest and enjoy medjool dates, you need to have lots of space and quite the green thumb! You also need to plant both a male and female plant. Date palms need hot, dry and sunny weather to flourish.
Fun fact #5: Medjool dates specifically must be harvested by hand due to how delicate they are, unlike other dates such as deglets. That’s a lot of TLC, tender love and care, that goes into growing and harvesting medjool dates.
Once the male date palm begins to produce pollen, the key is to gather the fine powder from its sheaths and sprinkle it all over the female date palm’s flowers when they are in bloom. If you get the timing right, you should start to see budding green dates around April or May. They’ll turn orange in the summer and thus ripen to the decadent brown and be ready to hand-pick for harvest searson; around August to September. For medjool dates however, sometimes the picking season can begin in September and carry on through November. It just depends on the moisture of that year.
Fun fact #6: A single mature date tree can produce 200 to 300 pounds or up to 10,000 dates in just one season! That’s a lot of dates! You can harvest dates multiple times throughout the season, each time gathering at least 1,000 dates.
Fun fact #7: Date palms grow up to 21 to 23 meters, or 69 to 75 feet high, and 30 feet around.
What are different ways that dates are used?
One of the awesome things about dates, especially medjool dates, is that you can enjoy them just as they are, whole or conveniently pitted dates or use them in alternative ways! There are so many sweet or savory medjool date recipes from different cultures that are delicious.
Fun fact #8: Because of the fact that they are high in sugar, you can use medjool dates to make date syrups, wine, alcohol, an alternative sweetener, and vinegar.
Fun fact #9: Although medjool dates are categorized into soft, dry, or semi-dry, they are *not* dried fruits. These amazingly delicious treats are considered fresh fruits!
When you bite into a medjool date, you’re not only giving your body nutrients, vitamins and an abundance of health benefits. You’re also taking a bite out of a long history of cultural significance. Medjool dates have a delicate skin and are much softer and sweeter compared to other varieties of dates.
We could go on and on… but you’ll just have to order a box and learn more for yourself!