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Fruit Breads Existed For Centuries But The First Date Nut Bread Recipe Isn’t Published Until 1939

National Date Nut Bread Day on December 22nd delivers a baker’s delight to celebrate. Incidentally, some sources also suggest the day is celebrated on September 8th, too.

  • Believed to have originated around Iraq, dates have been a staple food of the Middle East and the Indus Valley for thousands of years. They have been cultivated since ancient times from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt, possibly as early as 4000 BCE.
  • In 1765, the Spaniards introduced dates into Mexico and California.
  • Published recipes for the bread “date” back to the 1920s, but fruited breads were also known in earlier centuries and many different parts of the world.
  • In 1939 The first-ever date nut bread recipe is published
  • A date nut bread-eating championship was held in New York in 2006, with the winner eating 29 sandwiches in just 8 minutes.
  • Nuts are defined as a simple, dry fruit with one seed (very occasionally two) in which the seed case wall becomes very hard at maturity.
  • True nuts include pecan, sweet chestnut, beech, acorns, hazel, hornbeam and alder.
  • Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, horse chestnuts and pine nuts are not nuts.  So the health warning on a packet of peanuts (“may contain nuts”) is, strictly speaking, untrue.
  • Peanuts are actually a type of legume.
  • Most forms of nuts will preserve for several years.  Signs they are going bad are obvious.
  • Besides being both festive and flavorful, date nut bread is made with two great plant-based ingredients: dates and nuts.
  • Dates have been around for a very long time. In fact, they were a staple in Middle Eastern diets for thousands of years, and are believed to have first been cultivated in Egypt in 4,000 B.C.
  • Dates are naturally sweet and thus the perfect substitute for the refined (stripped of fiber) sugar that is so often called for in baking recipes.
  • Walnuts are usually the ‘nut of choice’ for this bread, but there are no hard and fast rules; other nuts (like pecans) can be used depending on your own taste preferences.
  • In terms of health advantages, walnuts are the ‘star’ nut; research has found that they may help lower blood cholesterol, prevent sudden cardiac death, and improve artery function—when eaten in moderation and in conjunction with a healthful diet.
  • One word of caution when it comes to dates and nuts. They are relatively high in sugar (the first) and fat (the latter) and are calorie dense, so a little goes a long way!
  • The word “date” is derived from a Greek word (dáchtylo), which means “finger.”
  • Dates have been shown to help with constipation; promote bone health and ward off osteoporosis; and aid in intestinal disorders, heart problems, anemia, sexual dysfunctions, as well other health issues.
  • One type of date nut bread, date and walnut loaf, is traditionally eaten in Britain, and is made with treacle, a sugary syrup, or with tea, along with dates and walnuts. It is also popular in Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • Date nut bread is popular in the United States, especially around the holidays.
  • Date palms cover 3% of the earth’s cultivated surface. Four million tons are grown annually.
  • A date pit almost 2000 years old was recently sprouted by Israeli researchers. An ancient variety thought to be extinct is back.
  • The date palm is the national symbol for Israel and Saudi Arabia, representing vitality and growth.
  • Date palm trees need at least 100 days of 100ºF heat and plenty of water to produce the best quality fruit.
  • The bulk of US dates are grown in California’s Coachella Valley.
  • There are more than 3000 varieties of dates grown worldwide.
  • Medjool is the hardest to grow and therefore one of the most expensive to buy.
  • Dates are rich in proteins, vitamins like B1, B2, B3, B5, A and C, minerals like magnesium, copper, selenium, and manganese. It is a good source of iron and calcium.
  • Dates are good for the bones, muscles and nervous system of the human body. It is a wholesome food on its own.


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