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Ramadan 2022 in UAE: Most popular varieties of dates among residents

Khaleej Times talks to Ibrahim Abdul Rahman, popularly known as the ‘Arbaab’ of dates at the Sharjah Jubail market



KT/Shihab
KT/Shihab

By Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Thu 28 Apr 2022, 12:25 PM

Last updated: Thu 28 Apr 2022, 1:14 PM

Dates are popular across the Middle East, especially in the holy month of Ramadan. In Islamic tradition, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has recommended eating dates as the preferred way to break a person’s fast. This has resulted in the sales of dates to soar especially during Ramadan.

To find out more about the fruit, we met up with Ibrahim Abdul Rahman. Popularly known as the ‘Arbaab’ of dates at the Sharjah Jubail market, Ibrahim has been selling dates for over 32 years. Over 1500 varieties of dates are cultivated around the world. We asked him which of these are the most popular in the UAE.

Ajwa: Grown exclusively in Madina, Ajwa is the most popular of dates. Ranging from Dh35 to Dh75 per kilogram, Ajwa dates are believed to have a whole lot of medicinal properties. Characterised by a dark brown colour, these dates have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. According to Ibrahim, some buyers have been advised by doctors to extract the date pits of Ajwa, dry them, powder, and consume it to reduce the risk of heart diseases. These dates are also believed to have trace elements, reduce instances of constipation, and promote heart health.

Sukkari: Another variety of dates grown in Saudi Arabia, the Sukkari is known for its extremely sweet taste and golden outer crust. Sold at approximately Dh15 per kilogram, Sukkari is one of the cheapest variety of dates. This also makes it one of the favorite varieties for gifting. With a high moisture content, these dates are often used as a substitute to sugar and sugar substances in range of desserts due to its caramel-like taste.

KT/Shihab
KT/Shihab

Mejdoul: One of the most famous varieties of dates, the Mejdoul is known for its larger, dark brown appearance and chewy texture. Originally cultivated in Morocco, the Mejdoul is currently grown in several places across the world including United States and the Middle East. The Mejdoul sold in the UAE is mostly cultivated in Palestine. Sold for prices ranging from Dh20 to Dh50, this variety has a host of health benefits. Its high fiber content is believed to lower risk of heart diseases and improve digestion. With high potassium and Vitamin B contents, the Mejdool is said to increase metabolism and reduce fatigue.

Mabroom: Another date variety cultivated in Saudi Arabia - mainly in the city of Madinah - the Mabroom is similar in texture and taste to the Ajwa date. What sets the Mabroom apart is its slight reddish appearance. Slightly firmer as compared to other dates, the Mabroom is sold at prices ranging from Dh25 to Dh45. They are comparatively less sweet than other varieties of dates and has a mild, sweet, and smooth flavour.

KT/Shihab
KT/Shihab

Safawi: Dark brown in colour, the Safawi has a dry outer texture but a moist, chewy inner core. Often soaked in milk before consuming, this variety of dates is cultivated in Al Madina in Saudi Arabia. Sold for prices between Dh20 and Dh25, the Safawi is popular as souvenir gifts among those who visit Saudi Arabia for the Haj and Umrah pilgrimage. With its larger, oblong shape, the Safawi is quite distinct from other varieties.

KT/Shihab
KT/Shihab

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In addition to the dried versions that have a long shelf life, there are fresh varieties of dates cultivated in most countries in the Middle East. Dates usually ripen between May and August, and it is usual to find branches of fresh dates available in all markets during these months. “There are several varieties of fresh dates cultivated in the UAE,” said Ibrahim. “During the summer months, we buy fresh dates from local farmers and sell them in our shop.”


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