When I was doing my groceries shopping at Langley Farm Market, I saw something new to me. It’s labeled as winter dates (in English). I bought some to try.
The winter date is just 99cents per pound. I think they are fresh red dates because they tasted like the dried red dates. Red dates are also known as Jujube. I noticed that the more brown they are, the sweeter they are.
However, when I visited the Richmond Public Market sometime later, I saw the same fruit labeled as Honey Dates (in Chinese). Anyone can clarify the difference in the name?
The winter date is about the size of crab apple. It has a small stone in it with both pointy ends. The texture of the flesh is …like apple but not as juicy, hence it’s more spongy. It has a mild red date flavour.
Coincidentally, Lorna had given me some Xinjiang red dates to try. They are really good with great flavour and sweet. I love to eat them as snack and it’s a snack that I wont feel guilty enjoying. Lorna found out about the Xinjiang red dates from a friend who is a cancer survivor. Apparent, her friend eats a lot of this. Lorna bought the Xinjiang red dates from Chinatown for $12 a pound.
The following is extracted from wikipedia on the medicinal use of red dates:
Red dates are used as traditional medicine in China and Korea. They are believed to alleviate stress. They are used traditionally for antifungal, antibacteria, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, sedative, antipastic, antifertility, hypotensive and antiephritic, cardiotonic, antioxidant, immunostimulant and wound healing properties.
I remembered my mother in law used to make a drink by boiling red dates and black dates together with water for me to drink after I gave birth. I believed it’s for improving blood circulation.
Look at the above size comparison, on the left most is the regular dried red dates, the center is the Xinjiang red dates and the right most is the fresh winter dates.
Lorna and I decided to make a day trip to Chinatown to hunt for red dates. The above are what we bought. From left to right, sorted by price. The two on the left is $12 per pound. There ones on the right are cheaper ones.
The above were bought from Nutra (or Ming Heng in Chinese). The one on the right is $12 per pound. They are big, like 1.5 to 2 inches in length. After trying all the dates, we found that the big one is the most worth your penny as the flesh is really thick and the seed is almost the size of other dates. The one on the left is not bad for $6.99 per pound. The good thing is that we dont have to go to Chinatown to get it as there is a branch of Nutra at the Continental Plaza in Richmond.
The above are the ones that Lorna’s friend introduced to her. They are stored in the fridge unlike others at room temperature. These are more moist but they are pricey at $12 per pound. They are available at Kwong Hing Herbal Products in Chinatown which claimed thay are the only one selling this kind.
Lorna also bought from another store the above for $5.60 per pound. They were not very good to be eaten as snack as they have a hint of bitterness. Lorna will used them for soup.
The above were some of the fresh dates that Lorna bought last year. She let them dry in the fridge for a year. They did not turn as red as those bought from the store.