There is a little less a week left to Ramadan, and I have neglected to write about one of my favorite customs with regards to the holiday: the breaking of fast (iftar) with dates (tmar).
The association between dates and breaking the day's fast is has religious as well as practical roots. “When one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates," said The Prophet Muhammed, "but if he cannot get any, then (he should break his fast) with water, for water is purifying.“
But dates are also in many ways an ideal first food to consume when you haven't eaten in approximately 12 hours. Dates are high in sugar, but have a low glycemic index, which mean they help stabilize blood sugar rather than create those spikes that render you flying high as a kite one minute to absolutely wiped the next. Dates are also easily digested but high in fiber, so, in theory, they fill you up and prevent you from over-eating at the evening meal. In theory. Pretty sure I could eat a pound and still have room for a double-quarter-pound.
Although I could have easily picked up some dried dates at the supermarket, I decided in the spirit of Going Through All the Food Products I Have Hoarded (#lifegoals) to sample the date spread i received from Try the World.
And, while eating the spread straight from the jar is perfectly acceptable, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and use it as a spread for the scones I had been planning to make this evening.