The Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) has advised all to wash dates well with hot water before eating it in order to reduce the residues of pesticides and chemicals, if present, and to avoid using the water used to wash it more than once.
It explained that dates are contaminated either by chemical substances such as pesticide residues and heavy and toxic metals, or by physical substances (foreign bodies such as the presence of metal parts), or by the growth of microorganisms (yeasts and molds).
SFDA indicated that there are several ways to preserve dates, including "freezing", which is the best way, as it works to kill or reduce microorganisms, as well as reduce bioprocess and oxidation, and it is preferable that freezing be at the lowest possible temperature, adding that the enzymatic activity during freezing does not stop as it causes increased ripening.
Dates can be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks, with the importance of using appropriate packaging that contributes to reducing the exposure of dates to moisture, and does not allow steam to escape, and the period of preservation in the refrigerator (cooling) may reach three months for some types.
As well as the dates can be preserved in a “drying” method, aiming at reducing moisture that contributes to the growth of microorganisms, as keeping dates at 20% humidity and storing them at a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius prolongs their preservation period for up to a year.
SFDA indicated that dates have many health benefits like other types of fruits, but they should be consumed in a reasonable way to avoid high blood sugar, so it recommends diabetics not to be partial in eating large quantities of dates and to review with specialists (doctors and nutritionists) to determine the amount that can be eaten daily.
All types of dates contain high levels of sugars, depending on the variety and stages of maturity.
Dates contain sugars, minerals and vitamins sucrose, glucose, fructose, starch, protein and fiber, and nutritious minerals such as potassium, sulfur, phosphorous, iron, sodium, zinc and magnesium, in addition to vitamins (A - B - C - E). As for date peels its contain flavonoids, which act as antioxidants.