Dates are one of the most delicious sweet fruits out there. They are available both as fresh fruit and dry fruit. Nutritional value also varies in both forms. The ripest and tastiest new form of dates is blackened or brown in color, also known as black dates. Dry dates are dehydrated version of the fruit used for many purposes, especially in India, where they are also a part of religious practices like rituals.
Dates have four stages of development, namely Kimri, Khalal, Rutab, and Tamar. Based on the level of ripeness, all these growth stages of dates have a slightly differentiated nutrition and flavor profile.
- Kimri: This is the initial stage of dates, 17 weeks from pollination. At this stage, the fruit is green, firm, and bitter. It has 80% moisture content and 50% sugars.
- Khalal: This is a slightly advanced stage where the fruit grows a little larger in size. 6 weeks after the Kimri stage, the fruit remains hard, but the sugar content increases. The color also changes to yellow or orange.
- Rutab: In this stage, after 4 weeks of Khalal, the fruit becomes half-ripe, softens in texture, and turns light brown in color. This is when it’s almost ready to be a final stage sweet delight of a fruit.
- Tamar: The last stage of a date’s growth cycle is the last two weeks after Rutab. Ripe and soft, around this time, the sugar becomes mainly reducing sugar, leaving them semi-dry and dry with about 50% each of sucrose.
Tamar is the stage which is more commercially sold as fresh dates. These are also called black dates because of the color that they achieve when fully ripe. On the other hand, dry dates are made by sun-drying Tamar stage dates. So, to learn the significant differences between black and dry dates, let’s look at some essential aspects of the fruits.
1. Shelf Life: When properly stored, dry dates can last for about 5 years, given the container is airtight. On the other hand, fresh dates have moisture content, limiting their shelf life to about 8-10 months.
2. Calories: On a weight to calorie ratio, dry dates have more calories because they have more concentrated sugars since they lose hydration. This enhances caloric content as well. For example, 100 grams of dry dates have about 280 calories, whereas black dates have 145 calories per 100 grams.
3. Nutrients: Dry and black both dates have a rich content of iron in them. This makes the consumption really healthy for blood. They both also have potassium which is good for the heart, magnesium that reduces the risk of diabetes, and vitamin A that improves your vision.
4. Macronutrients: These are the nutrients required in bulk quantities in the body for growth, maintenance, and sustaining daily life. These nutrients include proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. The two types of dates differ slightly in macronutrient content. A serving of dry dates contains 2.8 g proteins, 0.6 g fats, 76 g carbohydrates, and 5 g fiber, whereas fresh dates have 1.8 g protein, 1 g fat, 37 g of carbohydrates, and 5 g fiber.
5. Micronutrients: These are essential nutrients that the body needs in small quantities but remain just as significant. These vitamins and minerals are found in both varieties of dates but in different concentrations. For example, dried dates have more iron and calcium, whereas fresh dates are richer in vitamin C.
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