Have you ever eaten a dried date? My earliest memory of eating a date was in the fifth grade at Park Lodge Elementary in Lakewood. I opened up my lunch pail, packed by my mom, and there were several dates. Each one contained vanilla icing and a walnut half. I loved them. This would have been around 1957. It wasn’t until the mid-1900s that dates were actually grown here in the United States.It wasn’t until the mid-1900s that dates were actually grown here in the United States.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture sent out world-wide explorers in 1898 searching for new food crops. What they returned with were mangoes, avocados, new varieties of sweet oranges, and dates. Dates were really not that new to the rest of the world. Fossil records indicate that the date palms have been around for at least 50 million years. Our ancestors began cultivating dates about nine thousand years ago. The date capital of the U.S. is Coachella Valley, California, which grows about 90% of our date production.The date capital of the U.S. is Coachella Valley, California, which grows about 90% of our date production.
We generally produce two varieties of dates: the Medjool and the Deglet Noor. I prefer the larger medjool, which is cultivated around Yuma, Arizona.
“The impressive benefits of medjool dates include their ability to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, improve bone-mineral density, protect cognition, and boost metabolism. Medjool dates also ensure proper hormone production, optimize digestion, and help with normal growth and development.” – https://www.organicfacts.net/medjool-dates.htmlTry sliced dates on your next BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato) sandwich.
Most people just simply eat dates as they come, but they are missing a treat if that’s all they do. My friend Debora Robinett is a registered Seattle-Tacoma dietitian offering healthy recipes, nutrition and dietary information through the Health Enhancement Corporation. Take a look at this Star Fine Foods segment on “New Day Northwest” on KING-TV with Debora Robinett – Medjool Date recipes. – https://youtu.be/yWN2toEqmaQ.
Because medjool dates are larger, you can get more creative with them. I love medjool dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon. Or you could stuff them with coconut and pistachio or simply stuffed with chorizo. If you are into ice cream, you could churn yourself a pomegranate molasses, and date dessert to die for. BBQ pork roast with date chutney has me drooling just writing it down. Other great suggestions are grilled romaine salad with pecans and dates, tacos with roasted cauliflower and dates, and sliced dates on a BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato) sandwich. Don’t these sound like perfect picnic foods? I can hardly wait for summer . . . and I probably won’t.
Tim Marsh, Lakes High School Class of 1966 says
Enjoyed Don Doman dried date story posted 1/28/2018 at The Suburban Times. His earliest memory of eating a date was in about 1957 in the 5th grade at Park Lodge School. He opened his lunch pail, packed by his mom, and there were several dates. Each one contained vanilla icing and a walnut half. He loved the dates. I attended Park Lodge a few years before him. One of my Park Lodge memories was in its cafeteria. For the first time I had a school hot lunch. (Hot lunched were assembled, I assume, in the central cafeteria at Navy Base School and trucked to Park Lodge.) The lunch included cooked spinach. I’d never had cooked spinach before. I’ve never had cooked spinach since. Eating that spinach is not a happy memory.
Don Doman says
Thanks for reading and writing. I’m glad I struck a nerve. I never liked canned spinach, but cooked southern style with ham and cornbread it is excellent. I only attended Park Lodge a year. I remember we had a basketball team and I was bewildered. We had nothing like that at Stanley Elementary. I only played in one game and sank a basket. It was the only game we one, so I like to think it was because of my skill. My sophomore at Clover Park split at the end of the school year, and while I stayed at Clover Park, many of my friends became the first graduating class from Lakes. Small work. Thanks, again for reading my article.