Zaghloul, or red dates, decorate the streets of Egypt on towering palm trees – grace and poise in nature. Harvested and pollinated by hand, the zaghloul dates – with a deep red to burgundy skin – resemble giant red grapes and taste like crisp apples – and are synonymous with Egyptian autumn.
The harvest season for zaghloul dates begins at the khelal (maturity) phase, from mid-August until the end of September, and typically consumed at the end of the khelal phase, when the mature fruit is red, beginning from late September or early October.
Zaghloul dates are native to Egypt, believed to date back to ancient times, where Egyptians used the fruits to make date wine. They are grown in many governorates all over Egypt, including in the Qalyubia and Beheira governorates. Date pickers are trained from a young age to climb the 10 meter palm trees to get to the clusters of hanging fruit above.
Aside from the versatility, zaghloul dates have an array of health benefits. They are rich in calcium, sodium and phosphorus. The dates also aid in preventing cancer, inflammation, and depression, and also help in regulating blood pressure and regenerating blood cells.
Photo Credit: Farah Rafik