One of the perks of moving to the Middle East is all of the new foods we get to eat. This fruit is a great surprise. The biggest surprise is that we’ve been eating it for years, but didn’t have any idea how it all begins.
Check out this photo and tell me what fruit those little balls on the stems are. When we saw them in the store we knew we wanted to try them. We just didn’t know what they were, so we decided to put one stem in our bag. Rasheed, our mandoop, insisted we take more. He even helped us pick out stems full of fruits. Have you figured out what they are? They don’t look anything like what you see in the states.
These little greenish yellow fruit are fresh dates. This is how they come off of the trees. We had noticed mesh bags hanging under the palm fronds on trees and wondered what they were. We’ve learned that everyone covers their dates with these mesh bags so that the birds don’t get to them and they don’t fall on the ground as they ripen. The trees are everywhere! This picture was taken in front of the house next door. You’ll have to look for the brown bunches just under the leaves.
Now check out the close up. It looks like one of the dates is going bad, but in reality it’s getting read to be eaten.
In fact, that one became my snack soon after the photo was taken. We have a hard time waiting for the fruit to fully ripen. The best surprise is finding one of these that’s fallen to the bottom of the fruit bowl and gotten really ripe while hiding under the other fruit.
When the dates come off of the trees they are fairly sweet and sort of crunchy, with a strange after taste/feel. It’s sort of like the taste/feeling you get if you get too much of the banana peel in your mouth. But, if you wait until they’re ripe, they are soft and VERY sweetwith no funny after taste.
Obviously, the dates we get in the states have been fully ripened and then dried before they are packed. But next time you eat one of those dried up brown fruits you can remember how they came off of the tree.