I am obsessed with dates; medjool dates in particular. I feel like they have such a bad reputation though because they look so similar to prunes, sorry prunes. They're wrinkly and not a bright fun color. The taste though is anything but! They are the perfect sweetness it's unbelievable! The texture combination with the sweetness is perfect.
The health benefits are tremendous too; they actually have more potassium than a banana and more antioxidants than blueberries! They are so rich in dietary fibers and help sustain energy and stabilize blood sugar. They're truly a superfood in more ways then one.
There are a ton, over a hundred, of different types of dates in the Middle East but in the US there are only about 5; Medjool and Deglet dates being the most popular. Medjool date is considered the "King of Dates" as it was reserved for the King and his family because of its large size, its chewy firm texture, sweetness and extremely labor intensive cultivation process. In 1927 a disease struck the Medjool date palm in Morocco and threatened their existence but an American by the name of Walter Swingle brought back 9 offshoots to California. Interestingly enough the medjool dates of today are the descendants of the surviving moroccan palms! Another fun fact is the medjool date is the oldest cultivated fruit, dating back to 6,000 B.C in ancient cultures in the Middle East! It is because of this that the date is so entrenched in middle eastern cuisine especially dessert. And now, thankfully, the American mainstream has caught on to the secret exotic King of Dates and I can find dates in all natural grocery stores, vegan restaurants and all sorts of trendy LA restaurants.
So this is all great, the health benefits, the taste, the history but I actually also consume a lot of dates especially when I have people over because of pure laziness haha. It's soooo simple and yummy! This is a super simple way and super delicious way to serve dates; stuff with blue cheese (or goat cheese, or cream cheese) and a sliver of crunchy red apple. The color of the apple is a nice contrast to the white cheese and brown date and also adds a nice variety of texture. Let's be honest, a wrinkly brown date doesn't stand a chance in appearance next to a bright beautiful bright red strawberry or a bright orange peach and we all know that people eat with their eyes first, or is that just me?? hmm insert pondering emoticon here. So adding the bright red apple is a key touch for flavor and visual.
When serving dates ALWAYS remove the pit and make sure it is clean on the inside because unfortunately sometimes they can be bad dates undetectable from the outside. You want to NOT eat it if you see a bunch of tiny little dots, and you'll know when you see it. I was hoping I would find one so I can photograph it for reference but fortunately and unfortunately I didn't have a rotten one.