Have you ever seen or tasted a fresh date? Before it shrivels into its familiar copper nuggets it has a beautiful delicate yellow color with a crispness of an Asian pear.
I bought a few fresh date clusters on the stem, available only this time of year, at the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmer’s market from the The Bautista Family Organic Date stand. They have begun to sweeten and soften on the stem and each day I pluck a date and enjoy biting into its delightful mix of textures and flavors – half crunchy and half soft and sweet.
Dates have four stages of ripening known by their Arabic names; kimri – unripe, khalal – full-size and crunchy, rutab -ripe and soft, and tamr – ripe and sun-dried, what most of us are familiar with.
If you have a chance, grab these fleeting treasures before their season ends – and let me know what you think!
Listen to an interview with Alvaro Bautista and Laura Avery at KCRW’s Good Food website.
Market Watch – Fresh Dates – David Karp