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Cultural and Medicinal Purposes of Daechu (Korean Dates)

March 20, 2011

Thanks to Alice for the question about Daechu (Korean dates). I’ve been thinking of daechu all morning now, and I’m really inspired to get some dates and cook some food that has daechu in them.

Oriental medicine uses Korean dates for soothing the mind and body, protecting the five main organs and promoting kidney health. You really will see Korean dates included in all sorts of different oriental medicine! The six main medicinal purposes of Korean dates that are well know are: 1) Protects the kidney, 2) soothes and strengthens nerves and the mind, 3) helps with appetite, 4) prevents the body from aging 5) helps with urination, and 6) promotes a healthy reproductive system.

Culturally, Korean dates are a symbol of longevity and prosperous offspring due to these medicinal purposes. So they are always used as a very important part of the ceremony in Korean traditional weddings. Bill and I had them in our Korean wedding of course.

It’s also a huge part of Korean thanksgiving, and we always have it on our table for honoring the ancestors for thanksgiving. We serve dates both raw and dried at thanksgiving. Kids (and adults) love to munch on it.

Koreans like to eat it raw when it’s slightly green, or when it’s all ripe and brown. It’s crunchy and crispy and delicious. We also dry it – and eat it as a dried fruit, put it in medicine, put it in jjim (steamed dishes) or tang (stews), or desserts (such as yakbap – has dates, chestnuts, rice, cinnamon etc.). We also make tea out of Korean dates as well. I love all of these dishes; they are all so yummy!

There are different kinds of Asian dates though. The Korean honey dates are what Koreans use mostly – originally from the region of “Bo-eun” in Korea. They are very high quality and taste very good and sweet. I’ve found that the kind I get from Asian grocery stores sometimes do not taste the same, even when they look similar. But when you get the right kind, they are delicious!

Hopefully, I’ll get a bag soon and have a recipe to share as well!

Korean dates

Picture from Wikipedia

8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2011 12:25 pm

    Hi, Sunnie.🙂 Thanks for the pictures and info! Are these the same things that are always referred to as “jujubes” in Korean cookbooks?

    I really like the sound of health benefit #2, “soothes and strengthens nerves and the mind.” I could do with both!😀

    • Sunnie permalink*
      March 21, 2011 7:57 pm

      Yes. I’ve seen them referred to as jujubes too. I know, the health benefits of deachu are awesome!

  2. March 21, 2011 12:27 pm

    P.S. Last week I had my first (vegetarian) kimchi jjigae and a Korean friend told me how to make kimchi bokkeum bap. It was a red-letter day! Wow, the bokkeum bap is delicious. He also told me I can’t use the word “kimjang” to describe my springtime kimchi-making, but I’m going to disregard that and use it anyway; I meant it as a joke.🙂

    • Sunnie permalink*
      March 21, 2011 7:54 pm

      Haha, yes. We usually only use the word “kimjang” for late fall kimchi making, but who cares, it’s the philosophy and spirit of kimchi making that matters.🙂 Yes, Kimchi bokkeum bap is yummy. It really must have been a spicy, red day! We have it often too!😛

  3. March 29, 2011 1:54 am

    Thank you for this post. I am going to see if I can find good dates at the Korean market.

    I was happy to discover that my favorite Korean restaurant (and in my neighborhood) uses non gmo, locally grown soybeans to make their tofu. I am going to refer them to your site as well.

    I found red pepper powder that comes from Korea at the market. Although not organic, it is very good quality and has made my kimchi more authentic. My kids loved it. I feel like a vegan Jang Geum

    Thanks for all your hard work.

    • Sunnie permalink*
      March 29, 2011 7:34 am

      Haha… yes, you certainly are a vegan Jang Geum, Alice – your daily journals of food and healthy lifestyle are really inspiring – like Jang Geum!🙂 It’s great the the Korean restaurant uses good soybeans for their tofu and so glad that you found good quality red pepper powder as well. I can’t believe that your kids love it! It’s an acquired taste – good for them! Blogging has become such a fun and energizing aspect of my life, it’s really fascinating. I’m sure it’s the same for you too. Enjoy the authentic kimchi, Alice-Jang Geumi!!🙂

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