When shopping for dates, don't be surprised to see different sizes, various colors, and high and low prices for the same type. This is a very notable scene when dealing with the sellers of the most famous fruit of summer, “Rutab”. These differences are understood by the farmers, fathers, and everyone interacting closely with date palms, but for the inexperienced, who don’t know a lot about Rutab except their colors, these variations, especially regarding prices, are still a source of confusion.
Size and Quality
Rutab prices vary for the same type for a number of reasons like size, quality and care. The prices can’t possibly be the same for the bigger sized Rutab and the smaller sized ones. Also, the more care the date palm gets, the better the quality of its fruits will be.
Size depends on the pollination, irrigation, and alleviation processes. The date palm which is irrigated every three to four days, produce bigger fruits compared with the date palm which is irrigated every ten days. The pollination process plays a very important role, where the adequately pollinated palms produce fruits of bigger sizes. Also, the pruning and alleviation process, where dry palm fronds are removed before the fruit season, are considered essential when it comes to the size of the fruits produced, which determines the unique taste and the price.
Pruning and Alleviation Process
One of the main processes which contribute to the size of Rutab fruits is pruning and alleviation process, where the “racemes” of the date palm, which can sometimes reach 30 ”raceme”, are cut off. This process influence the size of date and Rutab fruits, because as the number of racemes increase, the more the size of the fruit decreases. So, it’s recommended to remove the excessive number of racemes by cutting them off, and leaving just about 7 racemes for each date palm. In addition, it’s preferable to cut off three centimeters of the top part of each raceme, as this will also affect the size of fruits produced.
Alleviating the number of fruits takes place in the pollination period, which is known locally as the “germination” period, where the date palms are alleviated from the bigger sized fruits to improve the appearance, facilitate access to Rutab, and protect the racemes from breakage. The process also includes the removal of the dry fronds.
Rutab prices don’t depend on color, there are some kinds of date palms which are known to produce expensive fruit, especially those harvested in the middle and end of summer, as for example, Al-khalas, Al-khonezy, Al-Burhi, Al-Lolo, and Al-khssab, where the difference per kilo is huge. This confuses people who aren’t experienced or aware of the various Rutab types, as Al-Lolo and Al-Burhi have similar colors, but different sizes and prices, which is completely normal.
The End of the Season
The high temperature of this year might cause the Rutab season to end faster. In the recent years, the season ended between late October and early December, but this year, it’s expected to end a little earlier in October. There would still be small quantities after this period for the date palms which didn’t get enough pollen at the time, but the fruit quality and size are expected to be less than the produce available in its normal season.
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