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Scientific American — No. 8, February 24, 1877

Scientific American — No. …

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In this country, the date as an article of food is classed with the prune, the fig, and the tamarind, to be used merely as a luxury. We find it coming to the markets at just about this time of year in the greatest quantities, packed in baskets roughly made from dried palm leaves. The dates, gathered while ripe and soft, are forced into these receptacles until almost a pasty mass, often not over clean, is formed. Their natural sugar tends to preserve them; but after long keeping they become dry and hard. This renders them unfit for use; but they still find a sale to the itinerant vendors who, after steaming them to render them soft (of course at the expense of the flavor), hawk them about the streets. Dates in the pasty condition are not relished by those who live on them; nor, on the other hand, would we probably fancy the dried, almost tasteless fruit which, strung on long straws, is carried in bunches by the Arabs in their pouches.
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