Dates are part of the Arecaceae family and are harvested in August and September. They are oblong fruits, dark orange when ripe, up to 5 cm long in cultivated varieties, with sugary pulp, containing a seed of woody consistency. The fresh dates are smooth and perfectly cylindrical. The best are undoubtedly the Iranian ones, rather large, dark and very sweet. Almost all dates are dried in the sun, so as to increase the concentration of sugars. In this way they become sweeter and last longer. This feature makes them available throughout the year. The fresh dates are much less caloric and richer in vitamins than the dry ones, they can be consumed as fruit in all periods, both in summer and winter.
The date palm is a plant native to North Africa. It is also widely cultivated from the Arabian Peninsula to the Persian Gulf, where it forms the characteristic vegetation of the oases. It is also cultivated in the Canaries, in the northern Mediterranean and in the southern part of the United States.