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How to Harvest Date Palm Fruit

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dates image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com

Tip

Do not use any pesticides on your dates. Chemicals can make the fruit inedible.

According to The Food Museum, the date palm is one of the oldest food-producing plants. The date palm is native to the arid, desert regions of the Middle East, although it is now grown in many parts of the world. Date palm fruit is grown in long strands hanging from the upper branches of the trees, and can be harvested from September through early December.

Put on a thick pair of leather work gloves and lean the ladder up against the side of the date palm tree. These trees can grow upwards of 30 feet, so a ladder at least 25 feet long is necessary for this project.

Climb the ladder and wrap a square of mesh netting around one strand of dates. Cut the strand from the trunk with the pruning saw. Date stalks average 3 to 4 feet long, and wrapping the stalks in mesh netting slightly larger than the stalks prevents any fruit from falling off as you cut through the stalks.

Move down the ladder and deposit the stalks in a large plastic storage tub. Only harvest ripe dates, which are dark purple in color with shiny, slightly wrinkled skin. Remove all of the ripe date stalks from the tree. Dates ripen at different paces, so you may have to harvest every few days to get all of the ripened fruit.

Pull individual dates from the ends of the stalks, discarding the stalks once you have removed all the fruit. Place the fruit on a cookie sheet and set it in a cool, dry place such as a kitchen counter. Fresh dates will stay good for up to a week after harvesting.

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