Date palms are palm trees, related to the palms that Africans got palm oil from. Date palms can live for up to two hundred years. Wild dates probably first grew around the Persian Gulf, in what is now Iraq and Iran.
When people first left Africa to travel along the coastline towards India , about 60,000 B.C, they must have found and eaten wild dates. people pollinated the dates by hand, climbing the date palms with male pollen and smearing it on the female flowers.
They harvested the dates during the summer, between June and September depending on the type of date. People loved to eat dates because they are very sweet, and also a good source of potassium. When people didn’t have sugar, dates were a great dessert.
Dates are long oval fruits. Each date has one big seed inside it. You can eat dates fresh, or dry them like raisins. Sometimes people coated dried dates with honey so they would last longer.
The main producing country in the world are Iran , Iraq , Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan ,U.A.R., Algeria, Morocco, Libya , Tunisia, USA, and in small quantities in Spain , Mexico, Yemen.
In recent years Iran is a leading Country in the world, with annual production of 900,000 metric tons. from 218,000 Acres of cultivated Land.
Date palm s grown mainly in South, South East, and South West of the country, and with less important in central of Iran . The main producing areas in Iran are:
Hormozgan 21.6%, Khusistan17.6%, Bushehr13.4%, Beluchistan 12.2%, Fars12.3% and Kerman 21.1%
There are about 400 varieties known in Iran, but only few of them are commercially important such as Sayer, Mazafati, Shahabi, Zahedi, Piarom, Rabbi, and Kabkab.
Sayer dates are dark brown semi-dry dates from Khuzestan province. Sayer is the most popular Iranian date which has allocated 42% of total amount of exporting dates from Iran. Sayer dates have different grades that are defined by the size of fruit in both pitted and un-pitted forms. Chopped dates are obtained from Sayer dates as well.
Mazafati dates: Mazafati is a fresh Iranian date that is known as Rotab or Bam date because the main origin of Mazafaty is Bam city. The moisture depends on the harvesting time and planting area which differs from 15 to 35%. Mazafati dates are packed under tree while picking them and the grades defined by the weight of each pack.
Iranian Shahabi date is cultivated in Bushehr; Shahabi date is very popular and known in Persian Gulf, Ukraine and Russia.
Zahedi (zahidi) Date can be considered as the most frequently used kind of Date fruit in Iran. The Date is dry fruit with yellow color, meaty and so delicious which its moisture is less than other kinds of Date fruits.
Piarom is the most precious type of Iranian dates. Hormozgan province is the biggest producer of Piarom.
Rabbi dates (Rabby dates), the black-colored beautiful dates that are grown in Sistan & Baluchistan province. Rabbi dates are used in pitted and un-pitted forms.
Kabkab dates is another type of date which is dark brown and moist. Kabkab dates are grown in Fars province. They are full of benefits and sweet syrup with their wet texture.