Khalal dates

P1010532Khalal dates
 

Dates are a traditional food of the Arab world and also happen to be a favorite food of mine. Fresh dates, known in traditional date growing areas as Khalal dates, are picked and sold at an earlier stage of ripeness than the Deglet Nour or Medjool dates commonly found for sale in British shops. A rare find in Scotland I have found these dates occasionally at Bismillah Food Store, Nicolson Square, Edinburgh from which the dates pictured above were purchased from.

Unlike the typical matured dates with their dark wrinkled sticky sweetness these Khalal dates have a bright yellow skin and creamy white flesh with a texture that is crisp and crunchy like a fresh apple. In terms of flavor there is an more subtle honey-like sweetness with a slight sour astringency that decreases as the fruit continues to ripen.

Most commonly know varieties of date, like Deglet Nour or Medjool, cannot be eaten at the Khalal stage of ripeness as they are still high in tannins and so are unpleasantly astringent. Other varieties such as the Barhi date, which is probably what my dates are, lose their tannins at an earlier stage and can be eaten as fresh dates with just a little astringency remaining that compliments their honey-like sweetness.

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