Article

Dates

Thanks to their sticky sweetness, many people think that dates are a dried fruit. They're actually a fresh fruit, but because they contain less water than most other fruits, they naturally appear a bit dehydrated. Stuffed with nuts and cream cheese, dates are the please-everyone hors d'oeuvre. But think how luscious they'd also be atop your morning oatmeal or dinnertime grain. You can even blend them in a smoothie or with milk (or soymilk) for a delicious sauce for your ice cream or yogurt. Add them to chicken or tuna or tofu salad, puddings, and cookies. Few treats this sweet are also good for you!

Flavor Profile

  • Sweet, caramel-like flavor

How to Choose a Good One

  • Choose plump, shiny fruit that's soft and slightly wrinkled, not bruised or broken.
  • Should be uniformly colored
  • Store in a well-sealed container for up to two months at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to one year
  • Can also be frozen for several years
  • If dates seem to have dried out, place in a bowl of warm water for several minutes. Pat dry and use

Peak Season

  • August through November

Nutritional Highlights

  • Good source of dietary fiber and manganese
  • Higher in total polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) than any of the most commonly consumed fruits or vegetables
  • High in calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorus, copper, and magnesium

General Use

  • Eaten out of hand
  • Pitted and stuffed with nuts, candied orange, tahini, cream cheese, marzipan
  • Chopped and added to both sweet and savory dishes
  • Tagines (an African stew)
  • Puddings
  • Cookies, cakes, and pastries
  • Bread spreads, syrups
  • Source of palm sugar
  • On hot or cold cereal
  • Candy
  • Salads
  • Salsas, chutneys
  • Toppings for ice cream
  • Shakes (blend with yogurt)
  • Chicken or tuna salad
  • Snack mix
  • Blend with milk and drizzle on waffles or oatmeal

Complements

  • Chocolate, caramel
  • Yogurt, ice cream
  • Walnuts, pecans, almonds
  • Bacon
  • Dried apricots, coconut
  • Brandy
  • Goat cheese, feta cheese, cream cheese
  • Cinnamon, ginger, vanilla