Did you know that dates are an extremely healthy and tasty treat with their own unique flavor? Although many people have good intentions when trying this dried fruit, it is not always well-received by everyone. Some may say it’s even an acquired taste. So what do you do if you want to reap all the amazing health benefits of dates but are simply not a fan?
Well, we’ve got all the answers for you right here! In this article, we’ll go over all the little tips and tricks you can use to make dates taste better. Let’s dive in!
What are Dates?
Dates are a type of dried fruit from the date palm tree. They have a nutty, rich caramel flavor and are often eaten on their own as a snack or added to recipes to bring out the natural sweetness. Dates come in many varieties, with most of the popular ones—Medjool dates—originating from the Middle East.
Before they’re ready to eat, dates are often left on the tree to “cure” and dry out. This process further enhances their natural sweet flavor as well as their chewy texture.
Health Benefits of Dates
There are many nutritional benefits to eating dates. Dates contain natural sugars and numerous vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, iron, and zinc. They also have a high fiber content and low glycemic index, which make them a great choice for people with diabetes or those watching their sugar intake.
In addition, research has shown dates to have beneficial medicinal properties stemming from their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. Dates are also a good source of folate, copper, and vitamins A and B. They may also help to relieve constipation and intestinal disorders as they have high levels of dietary fiber, which helps promote healthy digestion.
How to Make Dates Taste Better
Believe it or not, dates are a highly versatile fruit that can be added to many dishes for a richer flavor profile. Here are some tips on how to make dates taste better.
Stuff ‘Em Up
Stuffing dried dates with other ingredients is a fun way to add more flavor and texture. Once pitted, there is a natural pocket perfect for filling with sweet or savory ingredients.
Try goat cheese or cream cheese, along with chopped nuts, for a savory option. Or, stuff them with almond butter for a sweet treat. The possibilities are endless!
Blend Into a Smoothie
Dates act as a wonderful natural sweetener that can be mixed into a variety of drinks. Blend dates with oranges, bananas, milk, nut butter, and spices like cinnamon or nutmeg for a delicious smoothie.
Dates are also tasty, with carrots, ginger, apples, and cinnamon. They add a lovely depth of flavor, sweetness, and nutritional boost to any drink!
Baked in Sweet Treats
Dates are a great addition to baked goods like cookies, breads, and scones. Dates will add a subtle sweetness and chewiness to the recipe while providing fiber and vitamins.
You can also try using dates in muffins or as a topping for pies! Of course, fruitcakes are also a classic favorite that uses dates.
Eat ‘Em with Breakfast
Adding dates to your breakfast cereal or oatmeal is a great way to add natural sweetness and crunch. If you are feeling fancy, try making date pancakes topped with yogurt and honey. Dates also make the perfect topping for toast or English muffins.
Not a fan of dates on their own? Try them mixed in a salad! Dates add a nice touch of sweetness to any green, and they pair well with nuts, fresh fruits, and cheese.
Add chopped dates to mixed greens or spinach topped with walnuts, pears, blue cheese crumbles, and a light vinaigrette.
Everything tastes better when served with a yummy dessert! It’s a tasty and easy way to enjoy the benefits of dates without having to eat them on their own. Simply add chopped dates to ice cream, yogurt, custard, or pudding for a sweet and healthy treat.
Wrap ‘Em Up
Dates are the perfect size for wrapping in bacon or prosciutto. It gives the dates a savory, smoky flavor and crunchy texture. All you have to do is wrap each date in your favorite cured meat and bake until golden brown for a unique snack or appetizer.
Make it a Wrap
Another type of date wrap, but using a tortilla or pita. Dates taste delicious mixed in with tuna or chicken salad and other vegetables. It makes for a healthy wrap that adds a little bit of sweetness and crunch to every bite!
Roast ‘Em with Veggies
Vegetables like Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, and carrots pair nicely with chopped dates. Adding creamy goat or feta cheese and some chopped nuts will round out the flavors even more. The sweetness of the dates will make any roasted vegetable dish taste amazing!
Make Energy Balls
Energy balls are a popular snack that is quick and easy to make. You can use dates in combination with nuts, grains, seeds, and spices for a nutritious snack.
Pulse all the ingredients together in a food processor and then form into balls. The best part about energy balls is that you can customize them to your own tastes!
How many dates should you eat a day?
It is recommended that you eat 5-6 dates per day to reap the nutritional benefits. They’re an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, so eating them regularly is beneficial for your health.
Are dates really better than sugar?
Yes! Dates are a healthier alternative to sugar because they contain more fiber and nutrients. Plus, the fiber helps slow down sugar absorption, preventing drastic blood sugar spikes.
What is the shelf life of dates?
Dates can last up to 6 months in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container. Alternatively, dates can also be frozen for up to one year. This is a great way to store large quantities of dates if you want them to stay fresh longer.
Dates are a delicious and nutritious snack that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. From blending them up into smoothies and shakes, to roasting them with vegetables or adding them to salads, there is something for everyone!
Dates are a great addition to any diet because they contain essential vitamins and minerals while providing natural sweetness. So go ahead and grab some dates the next time you’re at the store and try out one of these fun and creative ways to enjoy them! You’ll be surprised just how yummy and versatile this little dried fruit can be.