Dates: A Global History by Nawal Nasrallah

By Nawal Nasrallah

In Dates, Nawal Nasrallah attracts on her event of growing to be up within the lands of historic Mesopotamia, the place the date palm was once first cultivated, to discover the historical past at the back of the fruit. Dates have an immense position of their arid place of origin of the center East, the place they're a nutritional staple and will be ate up clean or dried, as a snack or a dessert, and are even notion to have aphrodisiac qualities.    

 

In this heritage, Nasrallah describes the principal function the date palm has performed within the financial system of the center East. This informative account of the date palm’s tale follows its trip from its land of beginning to the far-flung areas the place it truly is cultivated this present day. alongside the best way, Nasrallah weaves many desirable and funny anecdotes that discover the etymology, historical past, tradition, faith, myths, and legends surrounding dates. for instance, she explains how the tree got here to be a logo of the Tree of existence and linked to the fiery phoenix poultry, the well-known old goddess Ishtar, and the moon, and the way the medjool date received its name.

 

This pleasant and weird publication is generously illustrated with many attractive pictures, and supplemented with greater than a dozen scrumptious date recipes for savory dishes, candies, and wine.

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4 Pliny had a better idea of how it was done: Harvested male pollen. To its right is the shaker farmers use to dust the female date flowers with pollen, in addition to the male flower twigs inserted amongst the female flowers. 5 First, the male pollen has to be harvested and then applied to the opened-up female inflorescence. This requires several journeys up and down the palm. On average, pollen from one male palm will be enough to fertilize about 50 females. Any excess male pollen can be stored for the following year.

Two-millennia-old date seeds were discovered near the Dead Sea and were identified as the seeds from the extinct Judean date tree. Several seeds were treated with special growth hormones and within weeks one of them sprouted. 4 Evergreen feathery leaves radiating like sun rays from top of a date-palm trunk. The second part of the name, dactylifera, is a combination of dactylus ‘date’ (Greek dactylos) and fero ‘to bear’. Literally, the Greek dactylus means ‘finger’, and the name transferred to the oblong date-fruit itself.

In ancient Greek and Latin, the name palma was applied to the edible date palm and its relative the ornamental dwarf palm, which grew in ancient southern Europe. 6 The Anatomy of the Date In his definitive Natural History of Palms, E. Corner says of the palm family in general that it is ‘the perfect idea, popular or philosophic, of what a plant should be’. It ‘stamps itself in grand simplicity on the landscape’ of all the warm parts of the earth. He further elaborates: All we can say is that the palms are as old, if not older, than any other form of flowering plant and that they have endured while the rest have pressed forward into modern trees, climbers, herbs, and grasses, ramified, extended, twisted, and simplified .

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