Its edible fruit has a hard seed, a thin skin, and a sweet taste which hangs on a palm in the form of a cluster. The date palm grows in tropical and semi-tropical regions such as Iran. Archaeologists are of the opinion that palm-tree gardens were created 5, years ago. Date palms have been planted in Iran since ancient times and before Achaemenid dynasty. In the late 9th century, the date palm was taken to China from Iran and was planted there. Amongst European countries, Spain has a longer history in growing date palms.
Dates are very nutritious, assimilative and energy producing. With the present uncertainty in the world food supply and the expected increase in demand, the date palm could be a good source of food of high nutritional value.
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In fact, date fruit is rich in nutrients, and due to its dietetic values it has always been held in high esteem by people. Furthermore, the date palm is one of the greatest producers of food per hectare, and world date production is well over 3 million tons. In most varieties, the sugar content of a date fruit is almost entirely of the inverted form namely glucose and fructose , important for persons who cannot tolerate sucrose.
Date fruits are also a good source of iron, potassium and calcium, with a very low sodium and fat content. In addition, moderate quantities of chlorine, phosphorous, copper, magnesium, silicon and sulfur are also found in the date fruit.
Date fruit is called a mine in itself because it is very rich in minerals. Its phosphorous content is similar to that found in the same quantity of apricots, pears and grapes put together. Date consumers in Saharan areas are known to have the lowest rate of cancer diseases, a fact attributed to the magnesium found in dates. With only 1 mg of sodium per g, dates are good food for those on a low sodium diet. The iron content of 3 mg per g is almost a third of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for an adult male. Note that fiber, even though it is not a nutrient for humans, is of much value in a diet as an aid to digestion and evacuation.
There is ample evidence that for most persons a diet fairly high in fibre is healthier than one low in fiber. Furthermore, dates are a good source of vitamins A, B1 thiamine , B2 riboflavin , and B7 nicotinic acid also called niacin. The following contents per kilogram are an average for all date varieties: vitamin A, international units; B1, 0.
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Protein is also of particular interest; it is variety dependent and also varies according to the stage of maturity. An average of 1. Dates are especially delicious as a fresh fruit. When used in baking they provide superb taste to the final product. Dates are also used as a component in food preparations like sweets, snacks, confectionery, baking products, institutional feeding and health foods. In addition to the dates' high nutritive value, the date palm could play an important role in the ecology of various desert and semi-desert environments.
Date palm, which is an irreplaceable tree in irrigable desert lands, provides protection to under-crops from the harshness of the climate heat, wind and even cold weather , reduces damage caused by sand storms and wind erosion.
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According to the Ministry of Agriculture, there are more than species of date all over Iran but just a few of them have commercial value. Generally dates according to their level of moisture categorized into three big groups which are: Dry, Semi Dry, Wet. Each part of Iran has a suitable climate for producing special sort of dates. Kerman province is the center for three sorts of dates which are Mazafati, Klute and Farehkon.
The main areas that produce dates in Iran are Hormozgan Sayer Dates come from Shadegan which is located in the southwest of Iran. It has 90 km distance from Ahvaz and km from Tehran. People from Shadegan mostly speak Arabic and well-known for being interested in poetry. The main source of income for local people is agricultural products and most people are involved in producing dates. Sayer date is the most common kind of date that local growers bring up. There are 2,, dates tree in Shadegan which produce more than 50, Tones dates annually.
The two big rivers that flow in this area are Karun and Jarahi and growers mostly use water from Jarahi. They made some dams on the river and use its water for irrigation. Piarom dates belong to semi-dried group of dates and because of its shape and taste, it is known as "chocolate dates" in the international markets.
Piarom is the most expensive and luxury dates in the world. Piarom has a very thin and inseparable skin, which gives the capability of complete washing. Due to dry and hot weather of this area, it prepared a suitable condition for growing this kind of dates. According to authorities, there are around 4, hectares of different kinds of date garden in Haji Abad which around half of them hectares used to produce Piarom.
Total production from gardens in this area is more than 10, tons each year which mostly export to European markets. Mazafati Ruttab is one of the best products that are produced in warm and dry regions of Iran.
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In Iran, more than different types of this product are produced, some of which are very popular and in many Asian and European countries, there are many fans and buyers. This date might be considered as one of the most palatable and delicious dates worldwide particularly since it is eaten in its mid-stage of growth ROTAB. Almost anyone finds this date tasty. The seed size ranges from 5. The growth and development of date palm fruit involve several external and internal changes.
These changes are often classified on the basis of change in color and chemical composition of the fruit, as five 5 distinct stages of fruit development, known as Hababouk, Kimri, Khalal, Rutab and Tamar. Starts soon after fertilization and continues until the beginning of the Kimri stage. It usually takes four to five weeks to complete and is characterized by the loss of two unfertilized carpels; a very slow growth rate is another characteristic. Fruit at this stage is immature and is completely covered by the calyx and only the sharp end of the ovary is visible.
Its average weight is one gram and the size is about that of a pea. Local call this step Chogholi.
At this stage the fruit is quite hard, the color is apple green and it is not suitable for eating. This stage lasts from a small green berry to an almost full-sized green date. It is the longest stage of growth and development of dates and lasts a total of nine to fourteen weeks, depending on varieties. The first phase is characterized by a rapid increase in weight and volume, rapid accumulation of reducing sugars, low but increasing rate of accumulation of total sugars and total solids, highest active acidity, high moisture content though slightly less than that of the second phase.
In local, they call it Kharal. The fruit is physiologically mature, hard ripe and the color changes completely from green to greenish yellow, yellow, pink, red or scarlet depending on the variety. It is to be noted that date fruit accumulates most of their sugar, both the sucrose type and the reducing sugar type, as sucrose during the Khalal stage. At this stage color of the seed changes at the end from white to brown. If supply and demand are in equilibrium, the Khalal season will last for a couple of weeks. Varieties harvested and marketed at Khalal stage present the following advantages: minimum infestation, a possibility of cutting the whole bunch, easy handling and packing, high yield and consequently high income.
Also called soft ripe stage. At this stage the tip at the apex starts ripening, changes in color to brown or black and becomes soft.
It begins to lose its astringency and starts acquiring a darker and less attractive color from the previous stage. At this stage, which in total lasts for 2 to 4 weeks, there is a continuous decrease in fresh fruit weight mainly due to loss of moisture. An increase in reducing sugar, a rapidly increasing rate of conversion of sucrose, a gain of total sugars and total solids also characterize this stage.
It has already been observed in respect of the reducing sugar type date, i. With softening, the last of the tannin under the skin is precipitated in an insoluble form, so that the fruit loses any astringency that may have remained in the Khalal stage from the Kimri stage.
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It is a very good stage for consumption as a hard ripe date. With the exception of a few varieties, fruit at this stage is very sweet. It is, however, very important to harvest and market the fruit at this stage. Unless they are cold stored, the fruits quickly turn sour and become of no commercial value. For dessert purposes, most people prefer dates after they have passed the Rutab stage.
Synonyms: Tamer, Tamr, also called full ripe stage or final stage in the ripening.