An Ode to The Slowest Food Ever: The Bahri Date

Unripe
Have you ever tried them? I saw these at the Berkeley Saturday market about three (maybe four) weeks ago. I stopped to look, as you don’t see them often. Turns out they are only available for about 2 short weeks during the season. That alone makes them special. Plus they are so stunning. Most of the customers were buying Deglet Noors and Medjools and ignoring these lovely golden fruits, save for one man sorting through the branches with a quiet intensity. The way he handled the dates made me think he knew exactly what he was doing. I stopped to ask if they are a short season date since I rarely see them and asked if they were very special. The man told me he was from Iraq, where they grow lots of dates, and Bahris were positively his favorite dates. Let’s just say his enthusiasm was infectious. He found a ripe one and handed it to me to taste. I asked the vendor if it was ok and popped one in my mouth. I was smitten, so I picked out a branch of my very own to take home.

The vendor said that they can be eaten while golden yellow and unripe but they are better when allowed to ripen. He told me that they should be placed in a sunny location and that it might never be warm enough for them to fully ripen. I tried a couple and then took them home. They tasted ok but the skins were too tough and I figured I’d like them better after they ripened. I waited and waited and waited, testing one every now and then and they were never quite right.

Notquite
They got wrinkled and it looked like they were going to rot before ripening and then one day, as I was about to give up, I looked at them and they were soft and brown with globules of sweet date honey oozing from them. Perfect. Perfectly worth the wait.
Finally

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2 Comments

  1. JM
    Posted March 28, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    does this farmer have a website i can order bahri dates from?

    • Posted March 30, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for stopping by. I don’t remember who the farmer is, but you may be able to order Bahri dates online from other sources.

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