Ramzan Special: Exotic dates from world over at Delhi markets

This Ramzan, replenish your Iftar delicacies with dates from almost all the countries around the globe.

In the holy month of Ramzan, a lot of seasonal products find their way to the streets of the capital city - but the sumptuous dates are exceptionally cherished.

A small market in the bylanes of South Delhi's Okhla and Batla house area sell the most exotic dates.

Most Muslims who fast in the month of Ramzan prefer to end their fast with dates during iftar (time to end fast). Different varieties of dates imported from Middle Eastern countries -- Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Palestine - to North African countries like Algeria and Tunisia are sold all across the market by street vendors and shopkeepers.

Mohammad Shadab is a fruit vendor in Zakir Nagar near Jamia Millia Islamia campus. Every year ahead of Ramzan, he buys all varieties of dates from the Azadpur (wholesale) Mandi and decorates them at his shop. "Selling dates is profitable because there is a huge demand in the Muslim holy month," Shadab told IANS.

Even when the date prices surged this year as compared to the last, business is still profitable for most sellers.

Ashraf Khan is another date seller in the Batla House market. He particularly likes the Ajwa quality of dates - which Muslims consider very nutritious and of good medicinal value. Ajwa dates, which arrive from Saudi Arabia and are priced at Rs.3,200 ($50) per kg, are among the most revered dates sold in the capital city this Ramzan.

Khan added that the sale of dates soars many-fold in the holy month as not only Muslims but non-Muslims buy them as well.

According to Agro Products, a distribution company, dates are usually graded into three groups. While soft dates like Barhee, Halawy, Khadrawy, Medjool have high moisture and low sugar content, semi-dry varities like Dayri, Deglet Noor and Zahidin have firm flesh, low moisture and high sugar content. Dry dates like Thoory have high sugar content.

During the month of Ramzan, Muslims are not supposed to eat or drink from dawn to dusk to "exercise resistance against material desires".

Source: IANS