Date Palm Tree Fruit

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The Fruit(Dates)

The fruit is a drupe known as a date. They are oval-cylindrical, 3-7 cm long, and 2-3 cm diameter, and when unripe, range from bright red to bright yellow in colour, depending on variety. Dates contain a single seed about 2-2.5 cm long and 6-8 mm thick. Three main cultivar Groups of dates exist; soft (e.g. 'Barhee', 'Halawy', 'Khadrawy', 'Medjool'), semi-dry (e.g. 'Dayri', 'Deglet Noor', 'Zahidi'), and dry (e.g. 'Thoory'). The type of fruit depends on the glucose,fructose and sucrose content.

Dates Pollination

Dates are naturally wind pollinated but in modern commercial horticulture are entirely pollinated manually. Natural pollination requires about an equal number of male and female plants. However, with assistance, one male can polonaise up to 50 females. Since the males are of value only as pollenizers, this allows the growers to use their resources for many more fruit producing female plants. Some growers do not even maintain any male plants as male flowers become available at local markets at pollination time. Manual pollination is done by skilled laborers on ladders or less often the pollen may be blown onto the female flowers by wind machine.

Ripening Stages

After pollination,dates takes few months until it get ripe,passing through four stages, which are known throughout the world by their Arabic names   chimri (unripe), khalal (full-size, crunchy), rutab ripe, soft), tamr (ripe, sun-dried). A 100 gram portion of fresh dates is a premium source of vitamin C and supplies 230kcal (960 kJ) of energy. Since dates contain relatively little water, they do not become much more concentrated upon drying, although the vitamin C disappears in the process.

Harvesting

 Whole dates are harvested and marketed at three stages of  their development. The choice for harvesting at one or another stage depends on various characteristics, climatic conditions and market demand.

The three stages are as follows:

Khalal: Physiological[ly] mature, hard and crisp, moisture content: 50 - 85 %, bright yellow or red in colour, perishable

Rutab: Partially browned, reduced moisture content (30 – 45 %), fibres softened, perishable;

Tamar: Colour from amber to dark brown, moisture content further reduced (below 25 % down to 10% and less), texture from soft pliable to firm to hard, protected from insects it can be kept without special precautions over longer periods.

Harvesting in the northern hemisphere takes place at the end of summer and in the fall, starting at the end of July (depending on the geographical area), with the harvesting of the Khalal varieties (especially Barhee), and ending in the middle of November [with the Tamar varieties].

 

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