Deglet Nour means literally ''date of light''. Once you hold it against the light you will see its juicy soft and almost translucent fruit pulp in a stunning color range. In an earlier degree of ripeness its almost transparent and becomes light brown to shiny golden brown and soft as ripe fruit. Because of its high nutrition, freshness, and outstanding pleasantly mild sweet honey-like flavor, Deglet Nour is commonly referred to as the Queen of Dates, and for that reason most known and appreciated in international markets.
Several old books provide evidence that the Deglet Nour date was first grown in Algeria. Among them are ''Le palmier-dattier'' by Pierre Munier, ''L'Algérie: un siècle de colonisation française'' by Félix Falck, ''Un voyage au pays des dattes'' by Jean-Henri Fabre as well as
''le Bulletin de la Société botanique de France''.
Munier states that the fruit was introduced at the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th century in the areas of Biskra and Oued Righ in Algeria before being brought to Tunisia at the end of the 17th century by a grower from Tozeur named Sidi Touati.
The Algerian Ministry of Agriculture has decided to act to reserve the Deglet Nour label to Algerian dates.
The date palm is evergreen and became the symbol of life in the culture of the Maghreb peoples. Already 5000 years ago the date was valued as a staple food in the Orient due to its high nutrient density. The honey-sweet pulp was an important source of energy for humans and animals during the day-long trips through the Sahara.
The date itself also got an additional boost by appearing in the Koran and the Bible. Its narrated that it strengthened the Virgin Mary during her pregnancy, that’s why traditionally, the date is the first thing a Muslim takes to break the fast and which is given to the pregnant and the baby when its born.
Planting and Region
The Oasis farmers say that the date palm is holding its head in the fire, but the feet are in the water. Which means that as a desert plant it needs a lot of the hot southern sun, temperatures between 30-35 degrees Celsius to bear fruits and therefor a lot of water. What means the roots should reach the ground water. The plant can grow up to 30 meters and has a life of up to 200 years. From an age of seven years the female palm bears every two years. The highest yields can be generated between the ages of 30 to 100 years. Harvesting time is between October- December with a yield per harvest around 100 kg of dates per palm.
Algeria with an agriculture land of 413.602 sq.km and the largest groundwater resource in the world offers the best conditions for the Deglet Nour or Queen of Dates as it called. That’s why date palms are cultivated in a large part of the Mediterranean coastal area of the Sahara and most isolated oases in the Algerian desert.
Dates have an excellent nutrition profile. Dates contain important vitamins and minerals in addition to a significant amount of fiber, which may be beneficial for preventing constipation and controlling blood sugar. Furthermore, they contain several types of antioxidants that may help prevent the development of certain chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Another nice fact is that dates help lower inflammation and prevent plaques from forming in the brain. Dates also promote and ease natural labor for pregnant woman when consumed during the last few weeks of pregnancy.