A delicious indulgence for every occasion, it’s little wonder that dates are one of the most sought-after fruits in the world today.
Thanks to date palms thriving across the Middle East and beyond, dates have delighted generations with its sweet, irresistible taste. While there are hundreds of date varieties grown around the world – each with their own distinct shape and flavour – they all offer strong nutritional benefits.
Fresh dates have a higher moisture content, which is why they have a tendency to spoil quickly in comparison to dry dates. In order to extend the life of all dates, it’s important to store them properly.
Like many fruits, dates are best enjoyed fresh, but can also be savoured for years to come if preserved effectively. Here’s how to store dates at home:
Most semi-dry date varieties can be stored at room temperature for at least a month or two. The dates should be sealed in an airtight container or jar to lock in their flavours, and placed in a cool, dry place. Household pantries and dark kitchen cabinets are ideal choices – just make sure they are kept away from heat sources.
Recommended for: Ajwa, Khidri, Sokari and Wanan
If stored properly in a refrigerator, dates can last from six months to a year as the cooler temperatures ensure that flavours are retained for as long as possible. It’s worth checking that the refrigerator temperature is at or below 40° F (4° C) and that the dates are stored in a sealed container to protect against odours and condensation.
Recommended for: Medjool, Kholas and Segai, though all date varieties benefit from being refrigerated for long-term storage.
Freezing is recommended if planning to store dates for a few years. Make sure to use a freezer bag (eco-friendly, preferably) but take the time to gently remove all the air inside before sealing and placing it in the freezer where the temperature should be 0° F (-18° C). The fruits freeze well thanks to their high sugar content. Before consuming, the dates should be thawed at room temperature.
Recommended for: All varieties for long-term storage
Research proves that temperatures of -18o C (0o F) is ideal for extended preservation of dates, but humidity is also an important factor – this is because a date’s high sugar content coupled with high humidity levels often sees the fruit spoiling faster.
Dates can retain their taste and texture for a very long time, but you’ll know the fruit has deteriorated with the appearance of mold, small insects or a strong, offensive aroma. However, don’t worry if you see white spots or a thin film coat your dates over time, these are caused by sugar crystals slowly moving to the surface.
Dates are available plain or filled with an assortment of ingredients, such as nuts, fruits, chocolate, cheeses and more. When storing filled dates, it’s worth keeping in mind the shelf life of all the ingredients involved – for example, dates with cream cheese will not last as long as dates filled with almonds.
Premium nuts and candied fruits make ideal fillings as they can be refrigerated for months and frozen for years, though there is a tendency for the ingredients to dry out or lose flavours over time.
At Bateel, quality is paramount. Only the finest ripe organic dates are hand-picked from sustainable farms in Al Ghat. The fruits are then carefully stored to retain freshness before being transported to a specialised facility in Dubai where they are expertly prepared, packaged, and delivered to Bateel Boutiques around the world.
Bateel dates , whether plain or filled with an array of gourmet ingredients, are ready to eat immediately but can also be refrigerated for up to six months. Storing them at room temperature is also an option but the dates may dry slightly after a few weeks, based on humidity levels in your home.