Dates are native to the Middle East or the Indus valley. The ancient Mesopotamians, Egyptians and other civilizations from that area have been cultivating dates ever since 5,000 B.C.

Their name originates from an old Greek word for soil – dáktulos.


Dates can be eaten on their own, but due to their excellent binding properties they have become a very popular ingredient in the preparation of no-bake desserts.

When preparing traditional desserts, date paste can also be used instead of caramel sauce or sugar.

Dates can be pitted with fresh cheese and wrapped with prosciutto or bacon and shallow fried.

In the Middle East, a dessert made of dates pitted with almonds and coated with coconut is a popular treat, which often replaces cookies. 


Nowadays, most date palms are cultivated in Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

It can take up to 4 to 8 years after planting for the date palms to develop fruit. Mature date palms can produce 70 to 170 kilograms of fruit; however, not all get ripe at the same time, so several harvests are required.

There are many date varieties, which vary based on the level of sugar content, size, maturation time and other characteristics.


A date palm is also called “the tree of life”; whereas, date palm plantations occupy as much as 3% of the agricultural land. The date palm is also a national symbol of Saudi Arabia and Israel.

 In Oman, whenever a baby boy is born, they plant a date palm, which grows together with the boy and, according to the legend, keeps him safe from a shortage of food.

Date pits are used to produce soap and even eyeliner.