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Piarom Date

Piarom dates, also known as Maryami dates or 'chocolate dates', are arguably one of the most delicious semi-dried varieties of dates in the world. Piarom dates are unique in taste and appearance and are considered one of the most expensive varieties of date as their production is exclusive to Hajiabad.

History: Piarom is one of the varieties of dates grown in the city of Hajiabad, the northernmost point of Hormozgan province, southern Iran. Hajiabad city is located about 100km north of the capital of Hormozgan province, Bandar Abbas, and is actually best known for its citrus products.

Description: Piarom dates are long, slender, oval dates, with thin skin and almost black in colour. They are around 3-5cm in size (larger than other date varieties), and are considered semi-dried due to their low moisture content of less than 15%, lower than other varieties of dates.

Grown in: More than 95% of Piarom dates are produced in Hajiabad, Hormozgan Province, Southern Iran. The palm on which they grow is typically cultivated in mountain ranges and irrigated basin areas.

Harvesting period: Mid-September.

Production: Annually, Iran produces close to one million tons of date fruit. There are 400 different types, 50 of which are well known in international markets and are exported throughout the world. Piarom is one major species of fresh date and has a huge annual yield. Piarom dates are grown organically in a chemical-free process. Primarily, this variety of date is consumed in domestic markets, but due to increased production in recent years, steps have been taken towards exporting also.

Exportation and consumer markets: Piarom dates are commercially available and, due to their high quality and popularity with customers, have become a special export date, attracting the most of prominent of international markets. In fact, Piarom dates are the best export date in Iran.

Shelf life and storage: Piarom dates can be kept for 18 months under interim fumigation. Piarom dates should be kept out of the sun, at temperatures between 10-20°C.

Uses: Pitted or unpitted, Piarom dates can be consumed directly, particularly as nuts with shelled nuts. Piarom dates can be seeded and stuffed, or chopped and used in a variety of ways such as in cereals, puddings, bread, cakes, cookies, ice cream and candy bars. Surplus dates can be made into cubes, pastes, spread, powder (date sugar), jam, jelly, juice, syrup, vinegar and alcohol.

Nutritional content and health benefits: Like all other varieties of date fruit, the Piarom date is loaded with essential nutrients, including – amongst others - vitamins (A, B, C and E), minerals, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, protein, fibre, carbohydrates and simple sugars. 100g of Piarom dates contains approximately 70% carbohydrates, 2.2% protein and 0.6% fat. 100g of Piarom dates contain approximately 300 calories; however, fresh Piarom dates contain about 160 calories. As with all varieties of dates, Piarom dates and a great source of fibre, promoting digestive health, and have also been found to help prevent certain cancers such as colon cancer and stomach cancer. Due to their high levels of potassium, Piarom date can help to maintain healthy blood pressure and their high levels of magnesium is effective for muscles and nerves. Piarom dates are particularly good for men.

Seeds: In powdered form, Piarom date seeds are in some traditional medicines, particularly for eye health, specifically cornea. The oil from Piarom date seeds is used in soap and other cosmetics. Processed chemically, they are a source of oxalic acid and, when burned, they can be used to make charcoal for silversmiths. They can also be used for jewellery, or ground and used as an alternative to - or in addition to - coffee beans. The seeds of the Piarom date have been found to contain high levels of flavonoids and phenolic compounds and thus possess high antioxidant qualities. Some studies into the effects of Piarom date seeds have shown that they are anti-genotoxic (not damaging to our cells); it has also been found that feeding the aqueous extract of the date pits to mice can reduce DNA damage induced by N-Nitroso-N-methylurea.

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