How to recognise a high quality medjool date?
Today we will make you an expert on Medjool (Medjoul) Dates. How do you recognize what is high quality, and when there is a problem?
We will list the most important factors in determining the quality of Medjool Dates.
Most important: Taste
First of all: the Medjool has to be tasty!
You can expect a rich sweet taste. It must be free from salty notes. You should taste rich sweetness and hints of caramel and toffee.
The Medjool dates must have a nice toffee like texture.
The dates should be free from sugar crystals, not too hard, and not too soft.
You should be able to squeeze the dates in your finger without applying too much pressure.
The Moister level should be around 22%-26% and the flesh should look shiny and juicy.
The size is not really important quality factor.
However bigger fruit tends to have thicker pulp.
Bigger fruit looks nicer and looks more appealing!
Last, and least important: Skin separation
Skin Separation is the least important quality factor. Skin separation is the loose skin that hangs on the fruit and not attached to it. Low skin separation looks nicer and therefore it is more expensive.
The loose skin is not an indication of the freshness of the Medjool Date!
To the inexperienced, fruit with high skin separation may look dry, however usually the exact opposite is correct. high skin separation is usually a sign of a moist, juicy fruit.
Defects that should not be found in Medjool dates.
Dry fruit is a fruit that has low moisture in it.
Signs of dryness are:
– Can not open the fruit with your fingers
– Fruit will not react when pressing it with your fingers
– Hard to chew
– Thin, fibrous and rubbery flesh
Sugar bloom is crystallization of the sugars in the date.
It is a minor defect, that shows the date was long time in a warm place.
It is perfectly safe to eat. Some people even like the crunchiness of it!
Sometimes insects infest the medjool date when still on the tree. Most of the times we see it when we pack the dates, however sometimes it is impossible to notice. In organic medjool dates this is more common as no pesticides are used.
Black Mold (Aspergillus spp.)
Aspergillus spp. is black mold that attacks medjool dates while still on the trees.
It looks like a black powder that is visible on the inside of the date.
Fortunately a recent study done in Volkani Institute (Israel) showed that the variety of Aspergillus mold found in medjool dates is not producing toxins dangerous to humans.
Most of black mold cases are already detected when sorting the dates.
Medjool Dates are “semi dry” fruit. This means they have some humidity in them, that can lead to fruit fermentation.
When dates have a high water content (28%+) then it may ferment like any fresh fruit.
Usually these dates are very soft and have a foul, fermented smell.