Date Tips… and Tricks

Don’t confuse us for last month’s issue of Cosmo, we’re here to share some of our favorite tips and tricks for our favorite Middle-Eastern fruit! Although the sophisticated fruit has been a staple in Middle-Eastern diets since the times of Ancient Mesopotamia, not all American chefs are totally familiar with dates. Stay up to speed by following along below.

  • If you’re lucky enough to live in a climate that has fresh dates readily available, always choose ones that are plump and soft. Avoid dates that have crystalized sugar on their skin too, as this can be a sign of unwanted age.
  • Dates are one of the simplest fruits to store and easily have one of the best shelf lives. If stored in an airtight container at room temperature, they should last for a few months before losing their flavor
  • While Medjools and Deglet Noors are the most popular varieties of dates stateside, there are tons of notable, unique varieties you might not know. Check out some of our favorites here.
  • There’s a nutritional catch to the succulent sweetness of dates; the little fruit is very high in sugar and calories. However, this makes dates a good alternative to added sugar in certain baked goods like cinnamon rolls and sweet bread!
  • Not sure how to counteract the powerful sweetness of dates? Visit “Til Lunch Do Us Part” for inspiration on flavor pairings.
  • When cooking with dates, think beyond desserts! With some fine-tuning, dates can be great additions to savory meat dishes, vegan-brunch items, and even smoothies!
  • For an easy appetizer, try stuffed dates! Simply fill pitted dates with your choice of cheese, meat, and spices! If you want to add a little sophistication, try wrapping your dates in bacon or prosciutto before stuffing.