If you have never tried dates from Malaysia, be prepared to be amazed. This dessert-like fruit has become an international favorite and a staple in many cuisines. From India to Thailand, from France to Italy, from West Indies to East Asia, people have enjoyed this juicy-sweet fruit throughout the centuries.
Desserts in general are very popular in the Indian culture, but dates is the original gift of India to its neighbors. The best quality products come directly from the Indian fruit markets. Producing quality dates requires a lot of care, which the locals excel in. The soil needs to be nourished with organic fertilizers and watered at least six to seven times each year. The sun must also be kept up for the fruit to ripen properly.
Onions, garlic and tomatoes are added to the mix to add more flavor to the product. When the dates are ripened, they can be used right away or stored for later use. The best quality dates come from Penang, Malaysia, which is located in the southern part of Borneo. Local produce makes for fresher, tastier products. With a little bit of research and the right supplier, quality dates are available at reasonable prices in Malaysia.
As a general rule, the longer the fruit ripens, the better it is. Drying is a very important aspect of the quality of any fruit that needs to be maintained for optimal quality control. Drying the dates at a high temperature is one way to speed the drying process without sacrificing the color or the flavor of the fruit. Local produce has excellent quality control because it is grown in the fields directly from seed, avoiding pesticides.
Drying is a very labor-intensive process. Long hours are needed to dry these fruits in traditional woven baskets called tuns, without damage to the skin or the nutrients. In rural areas where the tradition of drying dates is part of family traditions, family members know what the most desirable dates are and how to get them from local suppliers. Today, many Malaysian families grow their own dates and their own trees to supply them with dates, making it very hard for local suppliers to keep up with the demand. However, there is an abundant supply of fresh, quality, dried fruits from Malaysia and other tropical fruit regions.
For those who are interested in purchasing dates, locally grown, unripe fruit trees can be purchased at relatively low cost. A variety of trees including but not limited to manuka, kiwi, black, white, green and brown varieties of the Hawaiian name “Iberico”. Some of the trees have even reached international fame for their unique flavors. Many Asian countries and some indigenous tropical and sub tropical countries grow the popular Asian variety of dates. These dates are harvested in the early months of the year. There are various online suppliers of dates available on the Internet today, however, before buying any type of product, it is always better to verify the suppliers credentials and check for customer reviews.
Ajwa Dates are the sweet, brown dates that you might have seen in Ajwa Lake in Malaysia. They’re also known as Malaysian dates and are from the same palm tree as the national flower of Borneo (Aidong). They’re harvested and shipped to Ajwa Lake, where they’re used to season seafood, especially oysters. If you don’t care for that story, there are other types of dates available. In fact, when it comes to snacking or preparing a meal at home, most ethnic food tends to use these brown dates.
The reason it’s easy to see why these brown-hued dates are so popular is because they’re extremely versatile. You can use them for a variety of dishes: honey, peanut butter, salsas, stews, curries, desserts and even ice cream. A couple reasons for the versatility are that they’re easily available and relatively cheap compared to many other dried fruits. The other reason, which is the biggest reason, is that there’s a wide range of flavors: From light and subtle to robust and exotic.
The problem you may have if you don’t buy Ajwa dates directly from a seller is that the quality isn’t guaranteed. Many times, what you see is not what you get. Dried fruits that you purchase from a store may look similar to what you find on the shelves at an online market, but they’re likely not of the same high quality. That’s because suppliers cut their ajwaxes at the right temperature and then press them in a very precise way, resulting in tiny air bubbles. These bubbles aren’t visible to the naked eye, but they do affect how the product tastes once it’s inside your mouth. You’ll know if you buy low-quality dates by the sour, bitter taste in your mouth or by the thick, sticky coating on your tongue.
If you don’t want to use an online market to buy dates, you can buy Ajwa dates in any grocery store, discount retailer or even specialty store. You can even find them in good quality markets like food stores, grocery shops and health food stores, such as Whole Foods. You should be able to find Ajwa dates in your area or nearby market if you look hard enough, so go ahead and check your local market.
Another great way to find Ajwa dates wholesale is by buying them from bulk or large quantity bulk sellers. Some bulk or large quantity dry fruit wholesalers sell dates in their own brands. While you won’t have access to the whole lot yourself, you will have access to some. Most good quality retailers sell dates in their own brands and you can expect to pay more than if you went to say a specialty store, but you can save money if you buy your dates directly from a manufacturer, rather than from a discount retailer or wholesaler. Buying directly from manufacturers means that you are buying directly from the warehouse, and this is one of the easiest ways to get bulk discounts and save money.
There is a good chance that you will notice the smell of dates on someone else’s breath when they first chew it up. The reason for this is that there are a large number of chemicals, known as saponins, that are found in the date palm. If you buy cheap dates that you just chew on and spit out, then you may be leaving all that nasty chemical residue behind. If you buy quality dates and then eat them, the chemical residues are left behind and this can lead to bad breath, stomach upset and other unpleasant side effects of eating poor quality dates.