When you try to minimize refined sugar in your diet you tend to lean on dates to sweeten things. Even if you don’t like dates to start (as I did) somewhere along the line you realize how incredible these little gems are. They already taste like slow cooked caramel and they are packed with fiber and minerals. What I’m trying to say is that although they are super weird looking and strange, they are delicious and should be part of your life. With the rise in awareness with the dangers of excessive refined sugar, dates have become more mainstream. You don’t have to find a local health food store to find dates anymore, they are in all major grocery stores and even big box stores like Costco and Sam’s club.
I personally buy my dates at Costco, because they are the cheapest and we use them for everything! Even if you don’t eat a lot of dates, don’t be afraid to buy them in bulk because they keep for a very long time!
They are delicious whole but are very useful for cooking and baking when they are blended into a paste. I normally make a large batch of date paste and keep it in the fridge next to my jams and nut butters. When it’s blended all you need to do is get a scoop and you don’t have to get your fingers sticky!
Date paste is exactly what it sounds like, Dates that are smashed into a paste with a little bit of water. It can be made as thick or thin as you like it. If you need it for baked goods you want to keep it thick with little to no moisture added. If you want it for dips, spreads, puddings, or as a sweetener you want it to have slightly more water, so it can be smooth and creamy.
This recipe is for smooth and creamy date paste.
You will soon find many places to put date paste in instead of refined sugar, including
- banana bread
- ice cream
- dipping fruit
- adding to acidic sauces
- and BBQ sauce.
Even if you are not that into being creative in the kitchen, the convenience of having a healthy, less processed, whole foods sweetener will brighten up your pantry and your life!
Medjool Date Paste
A super versatile natural sweetener that's packed with fiber, minerals, and vitamins. All you need is dates and water!
- 30-40 medjool dates
- 2 c. boiling water
Remove the pits and caps from your dates, set aside (make sure no pits remain, otherwise you will hear the rock-hard pit being broken up against the food processor blades, and no one wants that.)
In a wide, shallow container, place the pitted dates with 2 cups of boiling water. Make sure to press the dates down so they are mostly submerged. Cover and let sit for 2 hours.
After 2 hours the dates should have absorbed some of the liquid (with about 1 cup of date liquid remaining). Place the dates in the food processor*, attached with an S-blade leaving the liquid behind. Process the dates until it forms a paste. Periodically scraping down the sides with a spatula to make sure every part gets blended. Add up to 1/2 cup of the remaining liquid to create a smoother paste. You should have about 1/2 c. date liquid left, save this for a smoothie, tea, or enjoy that sweet elixir on its own.
When the date paste is smooth, store it in an air tight container in your refrigerator. It should keep for 2-3 weeks.
*You can use other types of dates, but you may need to use more water, depending on their moisture level. I like using Medjool because they tend to retain more moisture.
*You can also use a high-speed blender, if you do not have a food processor. Make sure to use your tamper and to temporarily scrape down the sides to get every last date blended.