So How Exactly Do Dates Grow, Anyway?

Of all the dried fruit options at the grocery store, dates rank amongst the least popular of the bunch. They don’t have the cute California Raisin character to make them likable, nor do they have a catchy name like Craisins. What they do have is a mildly bad reputation for being just as common — and unwelcome — as fruit cake at Christmas time. It’s too bad because dates are responsible for making some truly delicious recipes, most of them desserts.

On our quest to bring dates back into the public’s favor, we got to thinking about where dates come from. For those of you who have never given any thought to this fruit’s origin, the answer may surprise you. But even more remarkable is the amount of work — and the serious need to overcome one’s fear of heights — required for the harvest of dates. These palms grow tall, and they take their fruit with them.

For those who are naive about the date, we’re going to break it down — with photos to boot:

  • 1
    These are dates.

    They're sticky and sweet and make <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/05/date-recipe_n_4109904.html" target="_blan
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    Like these brownies.

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/05/date-recipe_n_4109904.html" target="_blank">You know you want these.</a>
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    But they started off way up here.

    Yes, at the top of palm trees. Contrary to popular belief, not all palm trees grow coconuts. The date palm grows, well, dates
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    Harvesting dates is an incredibly labor-intensive process.

    Harvesting dates means climbing up the distance of tall palms, which can <a href="http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1
  • 5
    Dates are pollinated by hand to ensure an abundant harvest.

    Just one more example of how <a href="http://www.medjool-date-palms.com/html/male-date-palm-flower-pollen.html" target="_blan
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    Once the fruit starts growing, it has to be thinned out.

    One more reason to climb up the length of the tall palms. In order to guarantee a successful harvest the date strands are thi
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    The dates are separated by hand once picked from the palm.

    Not all dates ripen at the same time. Some are ready to be packaged and sold as soon as they're picked from the palm, but som
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    Fresh dates are harder to find than dried ones, but they’re worth seeking out.

    If you're not a fan of dates, chances are you've only ever encountered the dried variety. While these have their good qualiti

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