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Fruit Varieties Journal
(Fruit Var J)

American Pomological Society

Volume 29 Number 3 Article 2 Pages: 55-58
Year 1975 Month 7
Title: Evaluation of Date Cultivars for Dessert Quality
Author: H.C. Barrett
The date, Phoenix dactylifera L., is one of the most ancient fruit crops used by man; records of its culture date back nearly 5,000 years. Hundreds of individual palms have had sufficiently favorable attributes to attract the attention of cultivators and have received names. Only a small number of these cultivars, perhaps less than 200, have been imported to this country, beginning about the turn of this century. These imports represent the cultivars most highly regarded by cultivators in the Old World and those selected by European horticulturists who visited and studied date cultivars throughout their range of cultivation. Many cultivars failed to live up to the reputations acquired in their homeland or had serious horticultural - and U.S.- market shortcomings.
Date cultivars that are fully mature and grown under normal conditions in a favorable climate are general1 placed into three categories by fles K consistency: soft, semidry, or dry. U.S. consumers are familiar with soft types, slightly familiar with semidry types, and almost completely unfamiliar with dry-type dates. The 'Deglet Noor' cultivar, which accounts for at least 85% of domestic production is considered to be semidry, but after the usual commercial processing, it reaches the consumer as a soft-type date product. Almost all imported dates are derived from soft-type cultivars or reach the consumer as a soft-type date product.

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