Medjoul dates (Medjool) , please explain
All dates are not created equal, and that's even before they start to dry out.
Fairway (New York) has orange boxes of Medjoul dates form the Jordan Valley, a brand called Delilah. Apparently because this is what she tempted Samson with. Run, don't walk, to Fairway and buy some. Don't bake this Shabbat, serve these for dessert. They are unbelievably delicious.
That said, I do understand that there are cultivars or varieties of dates (like apples and oranges have) But Not every date labeled Medjoul is delicious, some are desiccated and others tasteless. Well, you can get a tasteless Valencia orange, too. No surprise.
What I don't understand is the date harvesting season. The Delilah brand Jordan Valley medjouls that I am raving about are a rich dark brown, with wrinkled skin, about 2" long, dried but moist to a perfect melt-in-your-mouth texture. They are not fresh (Fairway also has fresh dates this week, a yellow kind called Barhi. Were they just harvested? Are there seasons I should be following to get perfect dates? What other cultivars should I look for.
No other date compares to medjools. I wolfed down about ten last evening while waiting to leave for dinner (at Pita in GG again!).
The way I understand it, with medjools, because of their size, some farmers practice a kind of infanticide during the immature phase, picking the ones they think will grow largest/meatiest. It is believed that the total yield (in kg) will be the same. So for example, either you get 20 100g dates or 10 200g dates. I think this is a big reason for variability in medjools. Also, I think that like any more finicky/wonderful fruit, picking at the right time is key.
I've never seen Medjool dates sold pitted.
I am also under the impression that dates have to be checked for bugs (or webbing which could indicate bugs), simply by opening them and looking inside, so the presence of a pit shouldn't be a big issue, if you are going to be checking for bugs anyway. If not, though, I guess it could matter.