Middle Eastern Food

Ajwa Dates (عجوة) ; These aren’t Medjool

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I been eating dates since childhood and although I’ve never been a big fan of the palm fruit, I still ate them anyways.  Until recently during my trip to Saudi Arabia where I experienced different types of dates that were unlike the typical californian style medjool that American muslims have been accustomed to devouring.  Saudi Arabia is known to grow some of the best dates in the region and to find out there are different type of date varieties; including but not limited to my favorite sugar dates and ajwa dates.  Ajwa dates are not sweet but are known for their spiritual attributes.

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Ajwa dates are very small compared to medjool and not as sweet.  Ajwa dates are the size of the tip of my thumb and somewhat dry but satisfies my date cravings.  Do not sleep on these dates however, they seem ordinary but have a strong Islamic history dating back hundreds of years.  Among the benefits of ‘Ajwa dates is that they protect the person from any poison or magic. It is confirmed that whoever eats seven ‘Ajwa dates of Madinah (Madinah is a city in Saudi Arabia where these dates originate) every morning will be protected from poison and magic. The Prophet said: “Whoever starts his day by eating seven ‘Ajwa dates, he will not be harmed by any poison or magic on that day.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

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Ajwa dates also are known to have a healing power with its anti-inflammatory components similar to that of Aspirin.  It is not uncommon to see a middle-eastern (specially from Saudi Arabia) eating Ajwa dates when having a headache instead of taking store bought drugs like advil.  The healing components are still being researched by Riyadh-based King Saud University (KSU) to discover the health benefits of Ajwa dates which may also prevent cancer (not proven yet).    Overall, Ajwa dates are great snacks and the perfect antidote for illness and warding off evil lurkings.

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