Fun Facts about Arizona Medjool Dates on Rosie on the House
Among other benefits, Arizona Medjool dates contain antioxidants and nutrients that may lower your risk of heart disease, promote digestion and support heart health.
Arizona and California grow lots of this wonderful stone fruit. Medjool date production today in Yuma, Arizona sets the high standard for quality and taste for this amazing fruit that some call Mother Nature’s candy. What really brought the development of improved growing Medjool date palm trees to America was a disease Morocco was battling, the main producing country at the time. Morocco reached out to the United States Department of Agriculture for help, eventually leading to a connection with Arizona farmers. The first growers planted the palms in the 1930s after evaluating the ideal growing conditions our state provides.
“Six of the original date palms planted in the 1930s actually stand today over 70 feet tall,” says Juan Guzman, Senior Vice president of Operations for DatePac, the largest grower/packer of Medjool Dates offering full-year availability. “This speaks of the reach of our farmers. That’s how the industry started here in the desert southwest. Two of the farmers today managing acres and acres of date palms are the third generation that was part of those initial six trees.”
Here are some important facts about them.
Medjool dates pack a concentrated amount of healthy nutrients in a small natural package (a single pit surround by tasty, edible flesh). Two Medjool dates (typically 48 grams) provide:
- Calories: 133
- Fiber: 3.2 grams
- Carbs: 36 grams
- Protein: 0.8 grams
- Sugar: 32 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Calcium: 2% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Iron: 2% of the DV
- Potassium: 7% of the DV
- Copper: 19% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 7% of the DV
- Magnesium: 6% of the DV
While it could never be your main source, dates offer a significant amount of fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, B vitamins and magnesium.
Most nutritionists will tell you dates are a concentrated source of natural sugars. While people who monitor their blood sugar may need to moderate their intake of dates, one study found that this stone fruit has a low glycemic index (GI) and shouldn’t cause large increases in blood sugar. In fact, most of the calories in Medjool dates come from their sugars.
Yet, Medjool dates pack many calories in a small serving. For this reason, you may want to keep your intake in check.
Like prunes, those who love Medjool dates swear by their digestive benefits. Fiber is essential to promoting healthy digestion and bowel regularity.
Plus, Medjool dates can boast several antioxidants, which can protect our cells from oxidative damage that can lead to diseases like cancer, heart disease, and brain ailments.
Additionally, fiber and antioxidants in Medjool dates may help protect your heart.
Now for the Fun Facts
- Dates are considered the oldest cultivated fruit in the world.
- In Morocco, the Medjool date was referred to as the “king of dates.” This was because it was reserved only for Moroccan royalty and their guests. They were considered the more expensive variety of dates due to the labor intensity of growing and harvesting them.
- The date palm was actually a popular garden plant in Roman peristyle gardens due to its tropical aesthetic.
- Date Palms were a sign of victory in the Roman Empire.
- The word “date” is derived from the Greek word, finger.
- Dates are still harvested by hand.
- Medjool dates are an excellent alternative sweetener.
- Dates are considered fresh fruit.
- Date palms can grow to 65 to 75 feet tall.
- A single mature date tree can produce 200 to 300 pounds or up to 10,000 dates in just one season.
Our last "Farm Fresh" Rosie on the House radio show featured the wonderful Arizona Medjool Date. Check out the entire radio segment here with guest Juan Guzman.