Among those who live in the desert, fresh dates are a staple of their diet. The harvesting season of dates is the fall and early winter. Sweet fruit provides protein, minerals, like potassium and iron, as well as vitamins, like A and B. The freshest dates are hard, and crunchy. People can enjoy dates raw or use them in bread, smoothies, salads and puddings. Keeping fresh dates in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer will keep them fresh for many months.