The wonderful taste and nutritional value of dates has long won over our hearts and taste buds. With some predominant and delicious tasting dates, such as Ajwa munawara, Safawy, Madina, Mabroum and - our latest favourite - Khoudry, there is no argument that the superfood date is a delicacy that suits every occasion and age group.
Amid the trend, one part of date that is the least cared for, yet is quickly gathering a lot of attention are the date seeds. The date seed is a hard coated seed, usually oblong, ventrally grooved, with a small embryo.
The edible part of date is consumed while the seeds and pits are considered the by-product from either the production of pitted dates or the manufacture of date paste, which is largely produced in the Middle East and the United Arab Emirates.
Generally, they are used as animal feed, poultry and soil fertilizers, until a group of food scientist decided to explore and tap into its extended uses.
Here are some highlights of a few popular uses of the date fruit seeds.
The caffeine-free drink can be prepared from roasted date seeds, which are then powdered and can become a coffee alternative. The thin layer of white skin should be removed from the seed before roasting as it could foam the drink.
Date seed coffee is gaining popularity due to its unique taste and is recognized as one of the best alternatives to normal caffeinated coffee.
The date seeds help in reducing blood pressure, traditionally it also decreases body temperature and is used as medicinal food for bronchial asthma, cough, renal stone and weak memory due to its high amino acids.
Date seeds can serve as a source of edible oil. They can be also used as a functional food ingredient because they are a good source of dietary fiber, phenolic compounds and antioxidants.
Date seeds oil comes in a very intense yellow colour due to its high content of Carotenoid pigment.
The use of date seed oil is suggested for nutritional purposes, as cooking oil and also production of margarine due to its high stability and resistance to thermal treatment. It is also used for hair and/or part of hair products.
The date seed powder is prepared in fresh and roasted seed. The fresh date seed is prepared by grinding the fresh date seeds into a fine and coarse powder. The fine seed powder contains high dietary fibre content when compared with both fresh dates and dried date seed powder. Finely milled date seed fibre contains 71% of total dietary fibre and, when coarsely milled, contains 80% of total dietary fibre.
Various studies were conducted and revealed, the semi-processed flour form contain equivalent protein value of wheat flour, which means it can be used for various food preparations such as cakes, breads, pastries and others.
High protein flour (hard wheat) has a total protein content of 12-13%, while the protein content in date seed flour is 26.54%. This proves that the date seed flour can be an alternative food substitute for wheat flour.
Needless to say, date seeds, which were initially thought the less useful by-product, are now gaining interest among many due to its clinically proven benefits and good nutrition line-up.
The efforts do not stop at recycling and repurposing, today, with the increasingly conscious and zero-waste consumer practice we are beginning to see these hardy date seeds making their way beyond the food industry into cosmetics and even as fashion accessories.
Date seeds cosmetics such as eyeliner, scrubs, face mask and eye shadow can already be found in the market especially in the Middle East and are largely run by women entrepreneurs
As the saying goes; one man's waste is another man's treasure. With some creative innovations thrown in, these dried seeds are now being crafted into gorgeous and creative looking accessories such as necklaces, earrings, wristlets that will soon create a completely new trending industry.
Image: Etsy online