Well , with this dodgy sounding title, and even dodgier looking photo, I doubt many people will read this. But if it so be that you are interested in a natural alternative sweeener that grows on a tree, as opposed to being processed in a factory, read on! Try to look past the (brown) outer cover. Always a good lesson for life anyway.
I always imagined dates to taste like enormous raisins, and only discovered how much I love them a year or two ago. I love it as a sweetener because all the natural sugars are packaged up in fibre, and did you know, they have more potassium than bananas??
The best raw material for date paste, ever , would be FRESH Medjool dates, that have not cultivated or sprayed with chemicals. However, if your budget does not allow such delights, and sometimes it doesn’t, you can do this with dried dates, soaked in plenty of water overnight. (Look for dried dates with nothing else added)
All you do is soak your dates overnight, and then drain the soak water, but do not discard it! Food process the soft dates witha little soak water to get it going, but not too much; just a bit at a time. Keep blitzing until it’s all homogenised. In other words, well smushed up. 500 grams of dates in their dried state, made about 3 1/2 cups of date paste. You may not want to make that much, but you can freeze it in portions in the freezer. It keeps in the fridge for a good week, at least.
What to do with your date paste
- Use on your “Overnight Oats” as a caramelly sweetener. Or never mind overnight, I love just stirring it straight into Jumbo Oats, adding a handful of nuts or seeds, a chopped banana and some almond or soy milk.
- It works as a great sweetener for Apple Compotes instead of sugar.
- Spread on wholewheat pancakes with chopped banana.
- Pay a visit to Addicted to Veggies website, she uses it in almost everything, and she is fun to read. Follow this link for her Date Paste search results recipe list.
- Blend with some home-made nut butter, and some almond milk (for example) for a fantastic caramel. I made a banoffee pie with dates and nut butter once and if perchance you are interested, the recipe is here.
- It also works well in less obvious contexts like dressings, if you want a bit of sweetness, but not too overpowering a flavour, like honey.
- The perfect base for an Apple and Cinnamon Granola. Blitz up some apples until they are completely mushy, stir in date paste, and some honey or maple syrup for extra sweetness (if you like) cinnamon, walnuts and a pinch of salt. Stir in your oats, bake (or dehydrate) until crunchy and toasty.
And by the way, I am almost 35, and I have never (I don’t think) eaten a prune. I still look at them sometimes and wonder if they taste as bad as they look? Can anyone shed any light on this?
Meanwhile, thank you Mother Earth, for the date!