Differentiate between Red Dates, Palm Dates and Prunes

dates

Red dates, palm dates and prunes are common dried fruits and may be confused with each other. Each has its own distinct flavour and differs in terms of nutritional value, health benefits and usage.

红枣、椰枣、黑枣,都是常见的果干。三种‘枣’吃起来味道各具特色,除了味道,这三种干果其实在营养价值及使用方法上大不相同。

Organic Sun Dried Red Dates

1. RED DATE 红枣

Red dates, or called jujubes, are native to China dating back more than 8,000 years. China is now the main exporting country of red dates and are mainly produced in regions like Hebei, Henan, Shandong and Xinjiang. Cultivation of red dates requires abundance of sunlight for sweeter red dates, with larger fruits and thicker flesh.

Dried red dates have tough skin which are rich in fiber and fibrous flesh. Therefore, the texture of dried red dates is usually chewy and hard. Red dates are more commonly used in soups, teas, or added into dessert dishes for natural sweetness. There are also dried red dates preserved using freeze-drying technology which the taste is lightly sweet with a crisp texture, thus suitable to be consumed as snacks.

Red date is considered to be a nourishing food in traditional Chinese medicine perspective. It has a warm nature with ‘qi’ and blood nourishing function thus is absolutely beneficial to women. From a nutritional point of view, red dates are rich in iron and vitamins such as vitamin C, whereby it is one of the top fruits rich in vitamin C, so eating more red dates is also believed to help strengthen immunity and promote skin health.

红枣原生于中国,有超过8000年的历史,而中国也是现在红枣的主要出口国,各个地区如河北,河南,山东和新疆都盛产红枣。种植红枣的环境须具备充足的阳光,种出的红枣甜度较高,果实较大和果肉较厚。

晒干后的红枣因外皮坚韧,并富含纤维,果肉也很结实,因此红枣干吃起来口感较硬,经常用于煲汤,泡茶,或添加进糖水,以增添料理的天然甜味。市面上也有使用冷冻干燥技术保存的红枣干,味道清甜脆口,适合作为零嘴。

红枣在中医学里被认为是一种滋补食品,性温,具有补气补血的功效,对女性特别有益,而以营养学角度来看,红枣富含铁质及各类维生素,其中维生素C的含量更是在水果中名列前茅,因此多吃红枣也被认为有助于增强免疫力及维持皮肤健康。

Organic Dried Pitted Deglet Noor Dates Front

2. PALM DATE 椰枣

Palm dates have been cultivated in the Middle East and North Africa for more than 5,000 years. Nowadays, the main exporting countries of palm dates include Tunisia, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and other Arabic countries. Palm date trees are somewhat similar to coconut trees and palm trees and they can survive in harsh environments with hot and dry climates. Therefore, palm dates are also considered by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations as one of the most important foods in the future.

Palm dates taste very sweet like candied fruit but unlike candied fruit which is usually processed with lots of added sugar, sweetness of palm dates comes from the natural sugar content thus it can be considered as a type of healthy snack. In addition, palm dates are best known for health benefits like offering protective effects on the gastric layer and help replenish energy quickly. Hence, date is also one of the important foods for Muslims to break fasting.

Palm dates are rich in vitamins and minerals, thus earning them the nickname- bread of the desert. They are particularly high in potassium content, and even higher than some of the most potassium-rich fresh produce such as bananas, spinach and pumpkins. Consuming adequate potassium would help the body in sodium excretion, so date palm is considered beneficial for those with high blood pressure, edema, those who dine out regularly who are more susceptible to sodium retention. However, palm dates are very high in sugar, mainly fructose and glucose. Even though they are considered as natural sugar with a low glycemic index, it is advisable to consume in moderate amount, especially for people with diabetes and gout*.

*Suggested serving size for palm dates: 2-3 fruits a day to avoid excessive sugar intake.

椰枣在中东及北非种植了5000多年。如今,多个阿拉伯国家如突尼斯,伊朗,伊拉克,沙特阿拉伯等国家是其中椰枣的主要出口国。椰枣树与椰树及棕榈树有几分相似,可在恶劣环境如炎热及干旱的气候生长,因此也被联合国粮食及农业组织认为是能够成为未来重要食物之一。

椰枣的果肉吃起来甜糯像蜜饯,味道虽甜,但并不像蜜饯是添加了许多糖分加工而成,属于健康的干果食品。另外,椰枣也具有保健功效,如对胃黏膜有保护作用,并能够帮助身体迅速补充能量,因此椰枣也是回教穆斯林开斋时的重要食物之一。

椰枣富含维生素及矿物质,也被称为沙漠面包,其中钾含量甚高,比许多钾含量丰富的蔬果如香蕉、菠菜、南瓜等还要高,而摄取足够的钾能帮助身体排出多余的钠,因此椰枣适合高血压,水肿人士及外食族食用。不过椰枣的含糖量高,而且主要糖分来自天然果糖及葡萄糖,虽升糖指数偏低,但仍不建议过量摄取,特别是糖尿病患者及患有痛风人士*。

*建议一天摄取2-3颗椰枣,以避免摄入过多糖分。

Organic Dried Pitted Prunes

3. PRUNE 黑枣

Prunes are actually made from dried plums. Cultivation of plum requires abundance of sunlight and well-drained soil. In history, prunes have been brought into North America since 1848. Nowadays, countries like The United States, Chile and Argentina are few main exporting countries of prunes.

Prunes have a naturally sweet and sour taste. Due to their high moisture content, they still have a soft and juicy texture even after they are dried. Therefore, prunes are often consumed directly as wholesome snacks, and also make great addition into oat porridge and breakfast cereals. Due to a myriad of health benefits they offer, prune-based health supplements like prune paste (made from prune extract) and prune juice are gaining popularity among the public.

Prunes are rich in dietary fibre and contain sorbitol, which is a kind of natural laxative that promotes smooth bowel movement and prevents constipation. In addition, prunes are also rich in nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, thus making it one of the most nutritious ingredients of babies’ puree. 

黑枣虽然名字带‘枣’字,但其实不属于枣类,而是属于柿类,还没被制成果干的黑枣也被称为西梅干。种植西梅需要充足的阳光及排水条件良好的土壤。而西梅在历史上在1848年被引入北美,如今美国,智利及阿根廷都是黑枣干(西梅干)的主要出口国。

黑枣干味道带酸甜,因水分含量偏高,即使制成果干吃起来也很柔软多汁,因此经常被当成零嘴直接食用,也适合添加进燕麦,早餐谷粮等。另外市面上也常见许多黑枣制成的产品如黑枣精(黑枣萃取物),黑枣汁等作为保健食品服用。

黑枣干富含膳食纤维,并含有天然的山梨糖醇,可促进肠胃蠕动,有助于排便及预防便秘。另外黑枣也含有维生素、矿物质及抗氧化剂,营养丰富,也适合制成果泥作为宝宝的副食品。

NUTRITION TIPS 营养小贴士

It is highly recommended to choose certified organic dried fruits free from added sugar. As dried fruits are naturally rich in sugar, suggested serving size for dried fruits are 3-5 fruits per time to avoid excessive sugar intake.

在选择这类果干时务必选择有机认证,并不含添加糖的产品。另外,如作为零嘴,每份果干的摄取量建议控制在3-5颗,以确保不摄入过多的糖分哦!

TurkishDryFruit Bundle Pitted Prunes 1

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