Halawi: The name means “sweet” in Arabic, and these are the first dates we pick in September. They have an amber color, with a caramel flavor, our personal favorites. Great as is, or with cream cheese, yogurt, or sour cream. Superb flavor for cooking.
Medjhool: The Mercedes-Benz of the Date World. The large size makes them a perfect gift – or cut in half to serve with a walnut half pressed into them. A three to four bite date-dessert by itself. Ours won a first and second prize in the Indio Date Festival, in competition with farms many times our size.
Tarbarzal: These shoots came from a groove that is now gone; ours are perhaps unique to the world! And out of this world in flavor, with a slight caramel taste reminiscent of the Halawi. We won two first place awards for these dates in the Indio Date Festival.
Barhi: The Barhi Date can be so soft it literally melts in your mouth when ripe. This date is also tasty in its “Khalal” stage. Barhis are available at the Farmers Markets beginning in September.
Deglet Noor: The chewy “bread date” familiar to all. Excellent for a snack, or in trail mix. These should be your choice if date pieces are wanted in baked goods.
Khalal: Dates in the Khalal stage are still crunchy, like an apple. The color is usually yellow (or magenta to purple in the case of Black Sphinx). As they continue to ripen after picking, they begin to turn amber and brown (or black), turning very soft in the rutab stage. (If left on the palm, they continue to ripen from the rutab to their final stage, Tamar, and then begin to loose moisture, becoming firm enough to ship, and then chewy). The flavor of dates in the khalal stage can be on the tart side, they pucker your mouth like a persimmon, unless picked very close to ripening, and then a very special flavor. (I wait for a brown spot to appear to tell me they are ready, but many palates prefer them earlier than that). Put them in the fridge to hold them in the khalal stage a little longer, or hang them out to continue ripening. (Keep dry and airy to avoid mold).