How to Ripen Dates

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Dates must be fully ripe before they reach their peak flavor.
Dates must be fully ripe before they reach their peak flavor. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Date palms are believed to have originated in the region around the Persian Gulf, and have been grown by humans for more than 6,000 years. This long history of cultivation has resulted in at least 1,500 different varieties that are now grown in dry climates around the world. Most of the dates ripen fully on the tree, but occasionally some fall off before they reach full maturity. These can be collected and brought to full ripeness so that no fruit goes to waste.

Collect fallen dates that are not fully ripe. Rinse the fruit with water to remove dirt or sand.

Spread the unripe dates on a screened tray that allows good air circulation all around the fruit. The dates should be in a single layer and not touching each other.

Place the tray in a warm, or even hot, location that is protected from sun and rain.

Remove individual dates from the tray as they ripen. Some fruits will take longer to ripen than others.

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