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|Bautista Family Date Ranch|
The Halawi date is a medium-sized variety with an elongated oval shape and thin, buttery blonde colored skin. Though semi soft and moderately fibrous, the Halawi is quick to melt on the palate becoming softer with each chew. The Halawi date is the epitome of butter and caramel, and has been likened to the buttery taste of a pecan pie, without the cloying sweetness.
Halawi dates are available in the fall.
The Halawi, also spelled Halawy, date palm is in the family Arecaceae and botanically classified as Phoenix dactylifera. They are a semi-dry variety with a similar appearance and texture to that of the Deglet Noor, a more commonly available variety found in most grocery stores. However, the Halawi date offers more complexity over the course of harvest; from a just barely ripe stage known as tamar, to their fully mature khalal stage. While known for being subtly yet pleasantly sweet, the Halawi is a good date option for those with sugar sensitivities, because of its lower than average sugar content.
Halawi dates are highly nutritious and a rich source of dietary fiber. They contain iron, potassium, B-vitamins, flavonoids, antioxidants and amino acids.
Though occasionally available when young, firm and just barely ripe, the Halawi date is most often used in its fully ripe form, when it is sweeter and semi-soft. At this ripeness level, they maintain a modest sugar level and somewhat firm consistency that is easily chopped and diced without becoming mushy in bread dough, cookies and cakes. Their thick chewy flesh and sturdy shape make them an excellent stuffing date. Though slightly smaller and less pliable than the standard Medjool variety, they may be successfully used as a substitute. Complimentary flavors include nuts, chocolate, coffee, cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, coconut, orange, bananas, apricots, brandy, rum, cheese and bacon, pork and poultry.
Halawi translates to “sweet” in Arabic.
The date palm is native to present day southern Iraq, previously known as the Ottoman Empire. The Halawi variety, and many others like it, were first brought to California by Paul Popenoe in 1913. They have since thrived in the similar arid and desert-like climate, though they are a variety that is especially tolerant of humidity. Halawi dates are some of the earliest ripening dates of the harvest season and are sometimes found at farmers markets towards the end of summer.