Fresh dates are very different from the chewy, caramel-sweet dried versions. Have you ever tried one? They are crisp and slightly dry, with a honeyed sweetness that will eventually deepen into the rich, darkly sweet taste of more familiar dates.
These fresh dates are from Xiang Dao Farm, in Fresno, California. The photo is another from Lindsey's report on the San Pedro farmers market. More on dates and a few recipe links after the jump...
Dates are actually drupe fruits, and there are four stages of date ripening. These four stages are commonly known by their Arabic names: kimri (green and unripe), khalal (ripe and crunchy), rutab (ripe and soft), and tamr (ripe and sun-dried).
Most dates are sold in the tamr stage. The ones at market above are in the khalal stage.
Fresh dates are easy to find in California this time of year, according to the LA Times, but be on the lookout for them in your part of the country too.