Ajwa dates have a rich history and a promising future. Of all the fruits dates offer some of the most health benefits along with great flavour. Ajwa dates come from the Date Palm. The Date Palm of Saudi Arabia is one of the most ancient trees in the world. They can grow up to 12 inches each year to a height of up to 100 feet.
In excavations of sites in and around Egypt, the remains of dates have been found, thus offering evidence that dates were being consumed nearly 8,000 years ago. Date palms have also been found on seals from that same era from other countries like Greece and Assyria.
As its popularity grew throughout history, it was transplanted to different areas of the globe, often by famous world leaders. Alexander the Great was responsible for bringing the Date Palm to Pakistan and possibly to various other places in the Middle East as he spread the Hellenistic culture during his conquests. The soldiers spat the pits of the dates out as they ate in their camps, and eventually date palms sprouted wherever they went.
Marco Polo is said to have taken date palm seeds to Italy from India in the 1200s. While their cultivation there did not become popular at that time, dates did eventually become a delicacy throughout Europe.
The date palm was later introduced to Mexico by Spanish explorers, settlers, and conquistadors. As the Spanish soldiers marched north through what is now California in the 1700s, they planted date palms along the way. Later, in the 1850s the cultivation of dates became popular in the western United States.
The fruits dates provide are full of nutrients that travellers in the desert have used to sustain themselves and feed their camels when there was not much else available. Because they are so full of nutrients, it does not take many to provide satisfaction for hunger. The wood of the date palms is excellent for building in dry climates, and the palm fronds are used for thatching roofs. The palm date’s wood chips have also been claimed as good burning and making coffee.
Of the hundreds of types of dates found across the globe, Ajwa dates are the most popular. Ajwa dates are a soft dry variety of dates like Medjool, Barni, or Mabroom. They are cultivated in Madinah and sold around the world. Because pollination depends upon insects and wind, hand pollination by humans is often required for producing large quantities of the fruits dates provide. While Ajwa dates are one of the most expensive types of fruits dates, they provide priceless health benefits and a wonderful flavour that is worth the cost.
Muhammad, in the late 500s and early 600s, encouraged Muslims to break their fast for Ramadan by eating dates. It is said that he even planted the first Ajwa date palm close to the Quba mosque in Madinah. Muhammad told his followers that if they would eat 7 dates in the morning, they would not face harm from poison or magic that entire day.
Because of the many ways they help the heart, the fruits dates provide have been prescribed as a natural remedy for ischemic heart disease in Saudi Arabia for centuries.