Did you know that the date palm tree has existed since prehistoric times, and that dates may very well be humankind’s oldest cultivated fruit (as early as 6000 BC!)? We recently sat down with our very own Mark Kettmann, Mariani's director of global sourcing and grower services, to learn more fun facts about delicious and versatile dates.
How long has Mariani been in the dates business?
Mariani has been packing dates for over 50 years. Today Mariani packs between three to five million pounds of dates a year.
Where are dates grown?
Dates are from a date palm tree which thrives in arid climates where there are long, hot summers and little to no rain. Dates are cultivated globally, but here at Mariani, our dates are primarily from the Palm Desert in Southern California. We also work with growers in Tunisia.
How are dates harvested?
Dates are typically harvested in the second half of summer. Dates grow in large clusters on the date palm tree and the entire cluster is harvested at once by cutting it off the tree.
How many types of dates are there?
A lot! There are more than 200 different varieties of dates around the world. We grow and pack two varieties: Deglet Noor and Medjool dates. Deglet Noor dates are smaller compared to Medjool dates, and have less sweet, almost nutty flavor. Medjool dates are sweet and caramel-like. Both are delicious.
Shelf life… how long do dates last and what is the best way to store dates?
Most dates can be stored at room temperature for about 12-18 months, even after opening and resealing our TouchLock™ easy-seal bag. We recommend storing dates in the fridge for the best shelf life, but it is not necessary. Dates may get a little dry and hard over time, you can soften them up by placing them in a microwavable bowl with a splash of water (less than a tablespoon) and microwave for 20 seconds.
What is your favorite way to #DatesAllDay?
As a ‘pick-me-up’ snack – I eat them straight from the bag. Dates are naturally sweet while being low glycemic, meaning you can satisfy your sweet tooth without having to worry about a sugar crash, and they are a good source of dietary fiber. I also enjoy Colu Henry’s recipe for a date and blue cheese flatbread that we have on Mariani.com. It’s really good!