Dates are one of the oldest cultivated fruits. Fossils have shown that they may even trace back to 50 million years ago. They are a staple of Middle Eastern and Northern African cuisine and even have religious and cultural significance.
Simply put, dates are fascinating! They are also incredibly delicious and nutritious. These chewy delights come in several different varieties—over 1,500 grown all over the world to be exact. However, in the US, there are two primary varieties that are most common. Those are deglet noor and medjool dates.
You’re most likely to find deglet noor and medjool dates in your local grocery store (compared to other date varieties). However, our recommendation is to buy dates online so you can buy in bulk and enjoy your soon-to-be new favorite treat for longer.
So what’s the difference between these two types of dates? From the way they taste to the way they look, there are many differences that set these two types of dates apart from each other. In the following blog post, we’ll discuss the top 7 differences between medjool dates and deglet noor. Let’s get to it!
#1 They Taste Different
Probably the most obvious difference between these two superfruits is the taste! Medjool dates, which have been referred to as the “Baker’s Choice” before, are sweeter. They have notes of honey and caramel. For this reason, they are often turned into syrups, natural alternative sweeteners, wine, and used in baked goods.
On the contrary, deglet noor dates are less sweet. Their taste is in resemblance of nuts, like cashews, and browned butter. Although they are less sweet, they are still used as natural substitutions for sugar and used in baked goods. Deglet noor dates are often incorporated into whole dishes as well.
#2 They Look Different
These two types of pitted dates not only taste significantly different, but you could tell them apart just by looking at them. Medjool dates are much larger, lighter, and have an auburn to light brown color. Delget noor dates are much smaller and little bit darker. Medjool dates also have a thicker and more fleshier exterior than delget noor dates, which makes them much easier to bite into because they are less chewy.
#3 They Have Different Origins
Although medjool and deglet noor dates are believed to originate from similar areas, the exact location is different. Medjool dates are said to have been originally discovered in Morocco. In fact, they were nicknamed the “king of dates” in Moroccan culture because they were reserved as a treat for royalty only. This was because of their sweeter flavor, larger size, and more fruitful availability.
Deglet noor dates, on the other hand, are said to have been originally discovered in Algeria. Though they had some significance in the cuisine of the region, they were not reserved for royalty or anything fancy.
#4 They Have Slightly Different Nutritional Values
Dates eaten in moderation are an excellent source of certain vitamins and nutrients. They can act as a great natural energy booster. But medjool and deglet noor dates are different when it comes to nutritional value.
Medjool dates are higher in natural sugars, which makes sense when you know how much sweeter in flavor they are! Medjools contain a higher content of fructose (fruit sugars) and practically no sucrose (table sugar). Conversely, deglet noor dates have a balance of the types of sugar it contains. Medjool dates are also higher in calcium than deglet noors.
#5 They Have A Different Calorie Content
This is often considered by folks looking to limit their intake of regular sugar by substituting it for the natural sweetness of dates. Medjool and deglet noor dates are both excellent options to cut back on refined sugar, but still enjoy a sweet delight!
The difference in calories is slight, and it also might be surprising due to the fact the medjool dates are obviously larger than deglet noor dates. However, per 100 grams or about 4 dates, medjool dates are 277 kcal and deglet noor dates are 282 kcal.
#6 They Can Be Differently Priced
The price of dates often depends on the cultivation process. The longer it takes to grow and harvest dates, the higher the price might be. When comparing medjool and deglet noor dates, medjool dates can take longer to cultivate, which might make them higher priced. It depends on where and how much you are purchasing though.
#7 There Are Different Uses For Each!
The last difference between medjool and deglet noor dates is the interesting and delicious ways that they are each used! Dates can be enjoyed just the way they are. However, for centuries, they have been incorporated into colorfully delicious dishes, baked goods, and in other creative ways.
Because they are slightly larger than deglet noor dates, medjool dates are great for stuffing with cheese, nut butters, and other sweet or savory fillings. Medjool dates are also great to add to smoothies, or slice and add to salads for a nice compliment of something sweet. Their caramel and honey notes make them perfect for smoothies and for making syrups.
The harder and drier texture of deglet noor dates makes them easier to chop up and toss into a salad without them becoming mushy. Many would declare that deglet noors are better suited for baking breads, cakes, and cookies because of their subtle sweetness.
So many dates, so little time! With such a wide variety of these delicious fresh fruits, it might be difficult to tell them apart and know what you’re getting. Next time you’re shopping for groceries, add medjool and deglet noor dates to your shopping list!
Dates are an excellent natural source of nutrients and vitamins, and a wonderful energy booster to ease those mid-afternoon jitters. They’re also perfect for sweet tooths who want to stay healthy and watch their sugar. Now that you know all of the differences between the two most popular types of dates… which ones do you think you would prefer? Medjool dates or deglet noor?