Dates are a type of fruit, specifically a drupe, grown on date palm trees. Cultivation of dates as food began in the Middle East approximately 6,000 years ago, though records show the fruit was enjoyed about 8,000 years ago. Today, many types of dates are essential parts of Middle Eastern cuisine, but perhaps none are as prized as medjool dates.
Medjool dates have been called the "king of dates" and the "crown jewel of dates." Like most dates, the fruit is dried prior to being eaten. What really makes these dried wonders so special is that they are exceptionally large, contain a large amount of "fruit meat," and are extremely sweet. Each center of the date has an elongated pit, which is easy to remove.
Despite their sweetness, medjool dates only contain about 66 calories each. They are a good source of fiber and contain high levels of potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese. They do have a significant amount of fruit sugar, but this can make them a perfect alternative to other forms of dessert.
In color, medjool dates can vary from a deep brown to a rich dark purple or crimson. Some variance in color may be due to treatment methods.