4 Great Tips for Using Dates

Dates on a spoon

Are you ready for your hot date tonight? Don’t worry, I haven’t hacked into your social calendar—I am referring to the naturally sweet and energy-dense fruit. Dates are packed with fiber, potassium, copper, manganese, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, C, and K. Here’s your guide to dating with ease. Excerpt from Très Green, Très Clean, Très Chic: Eat (and Live!) the New French Way with Plant-Based, Gluten-Free Recipes for Every Season  © 2015 by Rebecca Leffler. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment.

1. Choosing a Nice Date
Medjool dates are typically larger, softer, and sweeter than other dates, so they’re the ones to buy for making date paste, puréeing into a chocolate mousse or chia pudding, or adding to warm, savory dishes. Medjool dates taste like a sweet mix of cinnamon and honey with a caramel undertone. They have wrinkly skin and should have soft interiors. Go for organic when possible, or at least make sure your date hasn’t been treated with sulfur.

2. Speed Dating
Pour some hot water over the date and let it sit for 1 to 5 minutes (depending on how hard/dry the date is to start), until the date softens. Then, it’s time to get naked! (The date, that is.) Peel off the skin and—let’s pause. I know, there are lots of nutrients in the skin, but the rest of the date has nutrients too, and come on: your silky smooth mousse depends on this! After you peel the skin and remove the pit, voilà! Your date is ready for you to do with it what you will.

Dates in a bowl

3. Where To Take Your Date
Don’t give in to routine—get creative! Blend your date (ideally in a Vitamix: your date, like you, deserves royal treatment) into a mousse, a creamy nut milk, or savory dishes for just a touch of sweetness.

4. When To Date
If you’re on a hardcore detox program or you need to watch your blood sugar, you may want to have a mere fleeting fling with your date—eat only as a sweet treat on occasion. However, if you do OK with natural sugars and are looking for a nutritious way to sweeten your recipes, get energized, or increase your intake of fiber, potassium, and minerals, then definitely take a date to be your lawfully wedded sweetener.

Here are some recipes using dates here on VegKitchen:

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