What can I Make with Date Fruit?
While not everyone is aware of it, date fruit is one of the most versatile fruits in the world. Useful in all sorts of recipes, dried dates can be used in salads, various types of breads, and even as a substitute for white sugar in ice cream recipes. If you happen to have some Medjool dates on hand and are not sure what to do with them, here are some suggestions to get you thinking.
One of the most common of all date recipes is date bread. Most recipes are very similar to banana nut bread. A tasty example from the Middle East is known as tamriah. Made with date paste, wheat flour, ghee, oil, sugar, and cardamon seeds, tamriah is just sweet enough to satisfy but not so powerful that it spoils a great meal. The bread slices easily and is a great option for a quick snack as well as something to enjoy at breakfast or with an evening meal.
Along with making loaves of bread, many of these recipes for using date fruit can also be modified to make muffins. For some added texture, it is possible to include diced bits of date fruit in the batter. Muffins of this type are also great in the morning with a cup of coffee, or as a simple dessert treat when topped with cream cheese icing.
Dried date fruit is also very good as an addition to green salads. Coarsely chopping the dried dates and sprinkling them on a salad helps to add a slightly sweet taste without overpowering the flavor of the greens and other ingredients. If a simple oil and vinegar dressing is used, the date fruit actually helps to accentuate the taste of the dressing ingredients in a subtle manner as well as adding texture to the salad itself.
You can even use date fruit to make your own sugar for different recipes. Simply bake the fruit at a high temperature for ten to fifteen minutes or until the fruit is dry and hard to the touch. After allowing the hard fruit to cool, grind the date fruit using a hand mill or in a food processor. Best of all, you get to decide how fine or coarse you want the grain of your date sugar to be.
Try using date fruit in some of your recipes that call for other types of fruit. You may find that the results are better than the original recipe, and allow you to present something new and different to family and friends. While you can use dried fruit, keep in mind that you can also use hydrated dates for a different texture and less of a concentrated sweetness.
Date fruit is gaining popularity and more and more diets are seeing the health benefits of date fruit. Since dates contain natural sugar, the possibilities with cooking with them are endless. You can make cakes, scones, pies, rolls and so much more.
I read recently that eating dates in the last few weeks of pregnancy can actually help with the labor, making it a bit easier on average. You have to eat about six dates per day in order for it to make a difference, but they are pretty good for you and the high quality ones are delicious so it's not really a hardship.
@Iluviaporos - I don't think you will often find fresh date fruits in the supermarkets here. In my experience they are usually soft but still considered to be dried and I find them in the baking aisle of the store.
I have only ever bought hard dates overseas, where I think that is actually just a sign that they are a low quality date. You really want them to be soft and chewy for almost any kind of baking, otherwise you might have to soak them for a while in order to get the right texture.
Date scones are one of my favorite things in the world. When they are warm with a bit of butter, they are just the perfect combination of sweet and salty.
You need to get the kind of dates that aren't dry fruit though. I don't know what the different ones are called, but I've bought both soft and chewy dates and dry, hard dates and it's the soft and chewy ones that you want.
You should also make sure that you keep the butter cold when you're making the scones. That's the secret to getting them to be fluffy.
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