Dates are an ideal food, with a wide range of essential nutrients and many health benefits.
Dates are high in fiber and help promote a healthy digestive system. Dates are an excellent source of potassium, a nutrient needed to maintain a healthy nervous system. Dates contain many vitamins like A, B1, B2 and niacin that help maintain a healthy body by metabolizing carbohydrates and maintaining blood glucose levels. Dates have higher percentages of potassium, phosphorous and iron than other fruits. Dates also contain a higher percentage of protein than other fruits. Dates are free of fat and cholesterol and are low in sodium.
Although dates have high sugar content--approximately 70-80% in the form of glucose, fructose and sucrose--dates have a low glycemic index. The consumption of dates will not result in rapid and large fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
Buying and storing
When purchasing, choose dates that are moist, plump and dark brown, with a shiny skin. Avoid shriveled dates or those with mold or sugar crystals on the skin.
Store dates in an airtight container at room temperature. Dates may be stored for six months to a year.
Pit dates by cutting lengthwise and pulling out the pit. Slice date lengthwise twice more and then chop each slice three or four times.
Cut out any hard, brown scars on the dates. If the date is black inside do not use it.
When using in recipes with almond milk, combine chopped dates in the almond milk for several minutes to soften before blending.
If dates are dry and hard, soak them in water for a few minutes. Drain water from dates before adding to other ingredients in the recipe.
In these recipes, dates are placed in a blender with sour almond milk or almond milk and other liquid ingredients and blended until pureed.