The date palm as the key to a more sustainable world

date-palm-image

In this blog, Perfect Plants wants to tell you more about the world of the date palm.
This will be explained in several parts, starting with the introduction of the date palm.

Date palm is a tree of the Areceae family and is a palm cultivated throughout the world.
The date palm is mainly cultivated for its edible, sweet-tasting fruit.
Depending on the ripeness of the fruit, they are called fresh or dried dates.

If the dates remain on the tree, they ripen further and change colour and softness.
The dates also grow bigger, increase in weight, moisture content and sugar content. To
prevent damage to the dates caused by, for example, extreme rainfall or insects, they are
sometimes harvested earlier, but then they have to be ripened extra after harvest.

Dates have a long storage life and are mostly sold dried. The dried date consists of more
than 50% sugar and contains around 2% protein, fat and minerals.

Most dates are consumed as a fruit snack, but they are also used more and more as
ingredients in other food products.
Dates can be used as an ingredient in Mueslis or other types of dried fruit spreads.
Dates are also processed into other products such as date paste/ syrup and liquid date
sugar.
It is even possible to use the pit to make oil and coffee substitutes.

Date production is concentrated in the subtropical climate of North Africa and the Middle
East.
The harvesting season is from July to the end of November and depends on the variety. The
peak of the harvest season is in September.
World production of dates reached 1 million tonnes in 2020. Of these, Saudi Arabia is the
largest date producer, accounting for 21% of world production.
Other countries that also produce a lot of dates are Iran, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia,
Egypt and Algeria.

More than 3000 date cultivars are cultivated around the world. Date palms are divided into 2
categories. These 2 categories are as follows: cane sugar variety and invert sugar
variety. Usually the variety contains the sugar content in the form of glucose or fructose. The
other varieties contain cane sugar (sucrose).
The Medjool (invert sugar variety) and Deglet Nour (cane sugar variety) varieties are popular
on the world market. Medjool dates are very popular and represent about 25% of total world
exports.

Climate change has created new challenges such as heat, drought and floods that can
significantly reduce crop yields.
However, due to their genetic diversity, date palms can resist extreme weather conditions.
We will look at this in more detail in the next blog.