Did you know you can use pureed dates as a substitute for maple syrup, honey or refined sugar? Date puree, date paste, date honey, date butter—different names for the same natural sweetness. Go easy on it though—one tablespoon has about 13 grams of sugar. (A tablespoon of maple syrup also has 13 grams of sugar; a tablespoon of honey has 17 grams.) However, dates offer fiber as well as minerals including potassium and manganese, which can help reduce blood pressure.
Use date puree in recipes instead of maple syrup or honey. Use in place of jam or jelly. Have a dollop on a piping hot baked yam, and add a pat of butter if you like, for a simple, sweet, and rich side dish. Date puree on yams might make a nutritious substitute for those ridiculously sweet candied yams that are traditional at Thanksgiving dinner. I served it alongside grill-baked yams at a family barbecue last summer, and my in-laws loved it.
Use your own judgment and care in substituting date puree for other sweeteners, and use it in dishes that would benefit from the flavor and consistency. Use “at your own risk” in baked goods, as results may differ from the original recipe.
This recipe makes about one-half cup. Multiply the quantity if serving a crowd or to keep on hand for other uses.
|Date Puree|| || |
- 1 cup lightly packed pitted dates (6 ounces, or 10-16 dates)
- 2/3 cup boiling water
- Place dates in a small saucepan. Pour the 2/3 cup boiling water over the dates and stir, arranging dates so they’re under the water as much as possible. Cover the pan and allow to rest one hour.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, enough to keep mixture at a low boil. Boil 10 minutes or until dates are very soft. Stir occasionally to moisten and submerge all of the dates.
- For a quick puree, place mixture in a blender or small food processor and process until smooth. For a smoother paste, transfer mixture to a strainer placed over a bowl. Press mixture through the strainer until no more will go through, scraping off of the underside of the strainer with a spatula.
- Serve immediately. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. Can be frozen.
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