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Medjool dates are plump and cylindrical in shape, measuring about 2 to 3 inches in length and an inch in diameter. The skin is glossy and tender with a maple-brown hue, and the meaty amber-colored pulp offers a chewy texture and candy-like sweetness with hints of caramel, honey, and cinnamon. Encased in the meaty pulp is a single elongated pit, which is removed before consumption. Don’t be deterred if there is a bit of white film on the fruit’s surface, as that's just natural sugars crystalizing and rising to the top of the skin. Date fruits grow in clusters on the date palm tree, and more than 1,000 dates may appear on a single bunch. Date palms are known to live as long as 150 years, though their fruit production declines with older age. The Medjool date is typically left to ripen on the tree in order to maximize its natural sugar development.
The chewy quality and firm structure of the Empress date makes it an excellent candidate for stuffing with either sweet or savory fillings. They are considerably less fibrous than some varieties and blend smoothly into purees or shakes, yet they hold a medium firm bite when diced and used in baked goods. Moderately sweet and mild in flavor, the Empress date pairs well with nuts, fresh cheeses, pork, poultry, rosemary, chocolate, cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, orange, coconut, banana, apricot, dark rum and brandy