Dates
DATES.
INTRODUCTION


The dried fruits not only prolong the summer flavor but they provide a different sweetness to us. The drying or dehydration to which some fresh fruits are submitted is an operation destined to reduce to the maximum the water content in the constitution of the fruit, in order to paralyze the action of the gérmenes who need moisture to live. To achieve this intention, one resorts to the natural heat (exhibition to the sun) or to the artificial one (combustion of firewood or of coal, gas or electricity).




The different types of drying are:

Natural drying to the sun. The fruits allow to dry off outdoors, by what this process can only be carried out in the regions much favored by the climate. This procedure gives excellent results and preserves all the flavor and the qualities of the fruit.

Drying for artificial heat. Both the stove and the microwave guarantee good results, because it allows to regulate the evaporation of a progressive way. It is begun to a low temperature, from 45 to 50 grades, which 70 is raising progressively up to 65 ó, according to the class of treated fruit. With the artificial drying the operation ends in 8 ó 10 hours; in the microwave, according to the fruit, from 30 minutes until 1 hour, while outdoors it is necessary to count with 6 or 8 days or more.

ORIGIN AND VARIETIES

The dried fruits as the dried apricots of apricot, of peach, the plums, the grapes you happen and the dried figs, they were part, already in the Middle Age, of the traditional kitchen of numerous countries. In the Europe of that epoch veal cakes were tasted with plums and dates, the pickled fish was accompanied with pasas and figs and the ducks with fruits. The big pies were containing a miscellany of ox, chicken, eggs, dates, plums and you happen, generously especiados and heightened with saffron. In Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the countries of the north of Africa keeps on being traditional the lamb with plums, apricots, almonds, honey and spices, and the chicken is still cooked by plums, quinces, dates or you happen.


The date is not a dried fruit, although the consistency and the aspect can remember this one, but he shares nourishing similarity with the dried fruits. It is the fruit of the palm tree date palm, of approximately 4-8 centimeters long and golden yellow color when it is mature. His meat, brandish and of sweet flavor, it contains a bone lengthened in his interior. This fruit does not surrender to a drying process, but it dries off to the sun in the same tree and later it is gathered. The dates are native to Middle East and to the north of Africa, and given his big variety they qualify in soft, semidry and dry dates. Between most commercialized there is the Tunisian date Deglet Noor, "date of the light", of smooth and brilliant skin, considered to be the best of all. and the date Medjool, of wrinkled skin and texture similar to that of a caramel toffee. The dry dates are commercialized in different presentations; concentrated, soft, hard, black, red and black and yellow gilded, that come both from Middle East and from California, although those of Elche (Alicante) are of an excellent quality. Time behind they were packed in bunches, as they were gathered, but at present they are inserted between plastic plates, although the first layer still supports his original presentation.


HOW TO CHOOSE THEM AND TO PRESERVE THEM


At the time of acquiring the dried fruits attention has to be paid to that his aspect and his color are uniform and do not present too many wrinkles. Some dried fruits, like the plum and the grapes, they can be acquired entire, boned or without pips, in what, before buying them, it is of interest to know the use that it is gone to give them to realize the correct election.


To achieve a perfect conservation and to prevent from drying up in excess, it is necessary to keep the fruits dessicated in well closed bottles of crystal and in a fresh place, dry and protected from the light and from the insects. This way they are supported for months. They must not survive in plastic bags, since they would end up by becoming moldy.



Composition for 100 grams of eatable portion
Calories 227,1
Carbohydrates (g) 57,1
Proteins (g) 2,8
Fibre (g) 6
Potassium (mg) 590
I shoe (mg) 1,1
Magnesium (mg) 46
Calcium (mg) 52
Vitamin C (mg) Tr
Niacina (mg) 1,8
Provitamina A (mcg) 5,7
mcg = micrograms
NOURISHING PROPERTIES


During the drying of the fresh fruit, his content in water diminishes, what gives place to the concentration of the nutrients. The caloric value of the dried fruits is raised (from 163 calories every 100 grams of the prunes you go on to 264 calories of the grapes) by his plenty in simple carbohydrates.


There are an excellent source of potassium, calcium, iron and of provitamina A (beta - caroteno) and niacina or B3. The vitamin C, in major quantity in the fresh fruit it gets lost during the dried one. There constitute an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fibre, what awards his healthy properties to improve the intestinal transit. The use of the calcium of this food is worse than the one that comes from the milk or other food that are a good source of the above mentioned mineral.


The potassium is necessary for the transmission and generation of the nervous impulse, for the normal muscular activity and it intervenes in the water balance inside and out of the cell. The beta - caroteno transforms in vitamin A in our similar organism this one needs it. The above mentioned vitamin is essential for the vision, the good state of the skin, the hair, the mucous membranes, the bones and for the good functioning of the immune system, in addition to having antirust properties. The magnesium is related to the functioning of intestine, nerves and muscles, is part of bones and teeth, improves the immunity and possesses a soft laxative effect. The vitamin B3 or niacina it intervenes in different phases of the metabolism and use of the carbohydrates, greasy acids and amino acids between other substances.




AS REGARDS THE HEALTH
The dried fruits combine very well with the breakfast cereals and enrich it in vitamins, minerals and fibre, what can turn out to be an interesting alternative for persons of all the ages, with the idea of doing this first meal of the day, attractive, varied and with new flavors.

This food constitutes a suitable restorative complement of the diet and, for his extra contribution in sugar and calories, they turn out to be particularly appropriate when there are practised sports of long duration or intense physical efforts, for what should always be part of the provisions of the montañeros and excursionists. His consumption is dissuaded in case of excess weight and obesity, since his caloric content is from four to six times a Superior with regard to the fresh origin fruit, and the persons must bear them in mind with diabetes and hipertrigliceridemia, for his concentration in simple sugar.

Fibre

His content in fibre turns to the fruits dessicated in interesting food in different situations or illnesses. There abounds in his composition the soluble fibre, which has aptitude to form viscous gels that fix the fat and the cholesterol, with what it diminishes the absorption of the above mentioned substances; reason for which the moderate consumption of dried fruits is positive in case of hipercolesterolemia, if this one is not associated with excess weight.

The plums and the dried figs, in particular, for his big quantity of insoluble fibre, it is very effective food to treat the constipation. The insoluble fibre, the speed of intestinal transit increases and with it the evacuation of the dregs (laxative effect); it kidnaps the biliary acids, which are eliminated by the dregs, what it forces the organism to synthesize more acids from the cholesterol, and as a result it diminishes the entire cholesterol. The insoluble fibre drags the cholesterol and the carcinogenic substances; they spend less time in contact with the mucous membrane, therefore there diminishes the risk of hipercolesterolemia and cancer of intestine.

The dried fruits, on having been dehydrated, are food concentrated on nutrients, between them the iron, by what his consumption is indicated in case of anemia ferropénica. To favor the iron absorption, these fruits have to get together with food rich in vitamin C, such as citric or his juice, kiwi, tropical fruits, etc. The dried apricots of apricot, of peach and the dry figs stand out on the rest for his content in iron.

The dried apricots of apricot and of peach constitute an excellent beta - caroteno source or provitamina A, with antirust activity, therefore he exercises a preventive action in the degenerative, cardiovascular illnesses and in the cancer.

Rich in minerals

The dried fruits are one of the food with major potassium concentration, by what his consumption is recommended especially for those who take diuretics that eliminate potassium and for the persons with bulimia, since for the autoinduced vomiting big quantities of the above mentioned mineral get lost. Nevertheless, for the persons who suffer from renal insufficiency and who need of diets controlled in potassium, the consumption of dried fruits is contra-indicated.

The wealth in magnesium of these fruits makes them interesting in situations in which the needs for this mineral are increased: bad chronic intestinal absorption, alcoholism, treatment with certain medicines. Also, the diets rich in refined food (white bread, white rice, sugar, pasta...), usually have suppressed magnesium minor that the rich ones in vegetables and finished grains. The mineral gets lost during the refinement of the cereals, like the wheat flour and the rice, and the prosecution of the food, like the sugar, and it is not added like part of the enrichment of the cereals.

It is necessary to bear in mind

The habitual consumption of dried fruits can favor the tooth decay appearance. The sticky consistency of the dried fruits does that they adhere to the teeth, therefore it is advisable to brush the teeth after consuming them.

During the process of industrial drying of these fruits it usually use liquid paraffin or it is added anhídrido sulphurous to prevent from being dried off in excess, although they can transmit his flavor and contaminate the taste of the fruit, therefore it is preferable to acquire the organic dried fruits as far as possible. Also, the sulfites provoke asthmatic crises in some allergic individuals or allergic reactions in sensitive persons.

The dried fruits turn out to be more indigestible than the fresh airs from which they come for what his consumption does not recommend to itself those who endure digestive problems (slow and heavy digestions, flatulence, delicate stomach...), although they can take them in the shape of compote.

The dates contain tiramina, a substance that provokes constriction of the blood glasses, what can provoke migraine in inclined persons.

The oxalic acid that the dry figs contain can form salt with certain minerals like the calcium and form oxalato calcic, by what the consumption has to be avoided if this type of kidney stones is endured, since it might aggravate the situation.



HOW TO PREPARE THEM
The date normally is consumed I dry and it is considered to be an excellent dessert. In the regions of the north of Africa a few cakes are prepared by means of pressed dates that constitute the food of the trailers that cross the desert.



BISCUIT OF FIGS WITH SAUCE OF NUTS

4
40'
way

Ingredients

- 250 gr.de eggplant cut in buckets
- 200 gm. of onion cut in buckets
- 100 gm. of red or green red pepper cut in buckets
- 14 big mushrooms
- 2 teaspoonfuls of oil, salt and pepper.

To introduce in the skewers the vegetables and the mushrooms, of alternate form. To mix the oil with salt and pepper and with a kitchen brochita to varnish the vegetables. To cook grilled or grilled from 10 until 15 minutes, they turning round constantly.

For the sauce of apricot and plum: 200 grams of dried apricots and plums you happen. To put to soaking during the night the dried apricots and the plums you happen (without the bone). On the following day, to beat everything together with the soaking water. It is possible to accompany with banana tracks. It is an ideal cream to use it during the winter when they skimp the fresh fruits. Similar creams can be prepared by any class of sweet dried fruit (dried apricots, dates, you happen of corinto...) alone or mixed between them.



 
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