Date Varieties are classified according to their moisture content:
- Khallals, AKA Yellow Dates - Khallals are harvested in early season, just before they begin to soften. They are cut and packed on the strings that they grow on. In their hard and yellow state they are crispy, crunchy, syrupy, and sweet but sometimes with a touch of astringency. Many Middle Easterners prefer to eat these dates in their crunchy state, while most westerners prefer to let them ripen untill they are a soft, sweet, and juicy. They should not be refrigrated while ripening. Most varieties of dates can not be eaten in the khallal stage. Out of the 40 varieties we grow only two can be eaten khallah, Barhi and Desert Gem. When shipped away from the hot, dry climate of the desert they can be unpredictable and may or may not ripen properly.
- Rutab, AKA Wet Dates - When the dates first begin to ripen many varieties have very high water content. Most growers allow them to hang on the tree a couple or three weeks longer till they dry down a little and can be handled more easily. We try to harvest as many as possible wet because they are incredibly delicious this way and more easily digestable.
- Soft Dates - This class has gone through the wet phase, perhaps wrinkled a little, but are still soft and pliable. They sometimes acquire a caramel flavor and will keep well for many months in this condition. Barhi, Medjool, Halawi and Khadrawi are some of the more well known soft date varities.
- Semi Dry Dates - Going directly from khallal to semi dry these dates are never wet. They seem less sweet and are very non-perishable. The most common semi drys are Zahidi and Deglet Noor. They are not sticky and easier to handle. When harvested they can be placed in bins 3 ft. deep. Dry dates- Dry dates are also known as bread dates. They have a nutty flavor and are used tradionally to break the fast during the month of Ramadan. They are actually very good and have quite a following. Just pop them in your mouth like a piece of hard candy or soak them in water to use in recipes.