History of date syrup

Dates are among the oldest cultivated fruits in the world. It seems that the Babylonians cultivated this fruit some 8,000 years ago. Dates grow on date palms, a tree that used to be considered a “tree of life”. Every part of it was used: the buds and fruits were consumed or dried and ground into flour, the fibers were used for weaving and even the date kernels were used as animal feed for the camels and donkeys. Because not all dates are suitable for direct consumption, those dates have been preserved by processing them into syrup. This way no dates were lost and people could still enjoy the benefits of the fruit in a different way.

Thousands of years ago, people became familiar with the benefits of the date palm and its fruits. One of those advantages is that date syrup can be used as a sweetener. Ancient cuneiform scripts from Mesopotamia (as it was called in the period of about 3400 – 600 BC. The region where present-day Iraq and some parts of Syria, Turkey, and Iran are now located) refer to the syrup as the most important sweetener of the time. This demonstrates how long the use of date syrup has been intertwined with the cuisine of the Middle East. Meanwhile, date syrup is gaining popularity as an alternative sweetener in various kitchens. As a result, date syrup is often used in cakes and desserts, but it also combines excellently with savory dishes such as tajines (fragrant stews), curry dishes or a piece of cheese.

The beginning of Basra Date Syrup

It was 1997 when the idea emerged to start producing a well-known Iraqi date syrup in Europe under the name of Basra. Through a connection Mr. Maan got in contact with the family business Frumarco. Frumarco is a Dutch producer of fruit syrups and is now managed by the seventh generation of the Visschers family. The idea of date syrup appealed to the Visschers family and in 1998 the actual production started.

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