Dates History In Arabian Peninsula
Dates are an iconic symbol of Arabian hospitality and an essential part of life in the kingdom. Case in point: Upon entering a Saudi home or office, you will often be welcomed with an offering of dates and qahwa (Arabic coffee). Date palms are mentioned 22 times in the Quran, and the Prophet Muhammad once said that a home with dates is never poor — the nutritious fruit has been a staple of the Saudi diet since ancient times.
The History of Saudi Arabian Dates
The kingdom is now the world’s third-largest producer of dates, which have been cultivated and traded throughout the region since 7000 B.C. As vital to the economy as they are to the diet, it’s no wonder that the emblem of Saudi Arabia features a date palm set between two crossed swords. The 800,000 metric tons harvested each year must be hand-picked as each fruit matures. Once picked, the dates are allowed to ripen in four stages: kimri (unripe, green), khalal (full-size, crunchy, yellow), rutab (ripe, soft) and tamr (ripe, sun-dried, dark); they are enjoyed at every stage.