#ReadersResponse: Wherever you travel, you’re sure to see symbols which allow you to instantly relate to the countries they’re from, irrespective of where you find them. While the Bald Eagle will always be synonymous with the United States of America, it is the Eiffel Tower that sparks memories of France. For residents of Oman, though, the Sultanate will always be remembered by one very humble crop: Dates. To many of them, this fruit is representative of more than just a source of sustenance.
“Dates found in Oman perfectly reflect their culture and hospitality,” said Shagufta A. Aziz. “Just like how Oman is rich in culture, humanity and a beautiful landscape, dates are not just fruits but high on nutritional value and health benefits. “It is also easily accessible and provides the right amount of fibre, iron, calcium, and lots of other vitamins and minerals as well, and I don’t know any person who is not in love with these delicious fruits,” she added.
Wahid Rana, another Oman resident, did not hold back when it came to praising the humble date. “Dates are my favourite food,” he recalled. “When I was at home, I couldn’t eat dates anymore, because they were so expensive I could hardly touch them. Thank God, then, that when I came to Oman, I was able to get dates very easily, in mosques, in shops, and even when I visited people’s homes. Now I can eat dates very easily, and at a very low cost. I’m really glad to find my favourite food, at a very affordable price here in Oman.
“Dates have been a staple food for not just Oman, but the rest of the Middle East as well,” added Mir Khan. “With a sweet and delicious taste, they are used in many forms from the half-ripe (ratab) to fully ripe (thamar), the date syrup used in place of jams and jellies, and even on special occasions with kahwa. “Dates are also a good source of income when exported to other countries,” he added. “Each and every part of the date palm has both domestic and commercial value.”
It was an opinion shared by Meena Pandya, for whom the fruit represented many fond memories. “The dates of Oman are so juicy and delicious and also full of nutrition,’ she told Times of Oman. “We always carry loads of packets as gifts to our relatives on our trips to our home country. Everyone really likes them and always appreciates them.”
Meher Jahan had a more succinct opinion of them: “The dates found here are as tasty as the people of Oman are generous, helpful and down to earth.”
Fellow resident Govind Raj added, ‘It’s purely natural and has no additives, just like sugarcane. It is really good for health, while Syed Afzar Haider chimed in with, “these are simply delicious and unique, I just love them!”
Residents of the Sultanate were right to praise dates: According to Dr Basheer, internist and diabetologist at Badr Al Sama’a Hospitals, “dates contain a lot of minerals and so they work very well with fresh fruits or milk because of their vitamin content, which makes these complete foods.”
“Dates release energy into the body at a slow rate, which makes them a very good food as you won’t get tired very fast,” he added.