Dates are one of nature's miraculous goods; they stand out with their sweet taste and chewy mixture. Dates are also highly welcomed for their caramel-like sweet flavour, which you cannot find in any other fruit. And what is most important about this fascinating fruit is that its sweetness is natural, unlike the other sweeteners, including white sugar or other kinds of refrained sugar.
Along with it, dates also became famous for their numerous medical benefits. They do a considerable benefit to our health as they contain such essential elements for our organism as vitamins, fibre, antioxidants, and so on. As they contain these crucial elements, they may promote our blood system, our brain, digestion, may decrease the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases and have some other essential health benefits.
Along with this, dates are also rich in minerals, including potassium, magnesium, etc. For example, potassium is crucial for inducing not only muscle contraction but also can reduce sodium levels and boost the body's metabolism. Meanwhile, magnesium is needed for keeping teeth and bones strong and lowers the risk of osteoporosis.
While we have spoken in our previous articles about their health benefits, detailed how they can contribute to sporty people, and other ways, they benefit our health, in this article we are going to talk about dates as natural sweeteners, and discover some ways how they can replace white sugar in several recipes.
Dates As Natural Sweeteners
Dates are a natural source of saccharose, glucose, and fructose, which is why they are so sweet. They can easily replace non-healthy sweeteners like white sugar as they also contain such vital things as nutrients, fibre and antioxidants. There are various ways to incorporate dates in your date and to use them in multiple recipes.
Among the most famous ones are date paste, date syrup, date sugar, and other similar things, which are very easy to make. Before jumping to the process of making these various date recipes, just one thing to take into account while using dates: yes, they are sweet and healthy; at the same time, they contain too much fibre and nutrients, so it's recommended to consume them in moderation. It's not that they will do some damage to our health, but eating too many dates can lead to gaining a lot of fat, so be restrained if you don't want to get too much weight.
To more fully understand how nutritious they are, here is the nutritional content of the standard dried dates (for 100 grams).
Carbs: 75 grams
Fibre: 7 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Potassium: 20% of the RDI
Magnesium: 14% of the RDI
Copper: 18% of the RDI
Manganese: 15% of the RDI
Iron: 5% of the RDI
Vitamin B6: 12% of the RDI
How Dates Can Replace Non-Healthy Sugar
Here are some favourite ways dates can be used as a healthy substitute for white sugar.
Date paste is one of the most famous date-made ingredients that can be used as a healthy substitute for white sugar and other refined sugars as well. What is most appealing is that it's very easy to prepare and requires just two ingredients - dates and water. The date paste can be used for several other recipes, as well as can be consumed alone. Here are the steps you should follow for making this incredible paste.
Dates (pitted) - 340 grams (12 oz.)
Water - 4 cups
Firstly, you need to soften the dates. For this purpose, bring 4 cups of water to a simmer. Then transfer it in a glass cup and put the dates inside the water. Cover it and let it sit for 10 minutes so that the dates become soft.
After it, you need to transfer softened dates into the food processor and there a cup of water you used for softening the dates. You can use more or less water depending on how much thick you want your date paste to be.
Blend dates and water together until you get a smooth mixture. That's all, your date paste is ready. Here are some more tips about date paste.
You can store it for later use. Keep it in the airtight container and in the refrigerator for about 3 months.
You can use it instead of sugar with a 1:1 ratio. But when it comes to using it in cookies, it's a bit challenging. The problem is that, along with sweetness, they also add moisture to the dough. So take into account also this problem when you use it for baking.
Another popular thing that you can make when there are lots of dates at home is date syrup. Date syrup is also sold at stores and is one of the best known alternative sweeteners in the world. However, it's much more affordable if you make it at home. It does not take too much time and is incredibly easy to prepare.
While standard Deglet Noor dates can also be used for date syrup, they usually take too much time to soak, so Medjool dates are a better choice. Like in the case of date paste, you, along with dates, you only need also some water, but the preparation process is different. Let's see how it goes.
Dried Medjool Dates (pitted) - 1 pound
Water - 4 cups
Now, your first step is cutting the dates. For this purpose, you should use kitchen shears, but before coming to the cutting process, first of all, coat their blades with a thin swipe of oil. Then start cutting the dates.
Take a medium saucepan and pour into it the water, and place dates in it. Then bring them to simmer and let them simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally.
Then, you should let them cool again for half an hour and blend the mixture in the food processor for at least a minute or until you get a smooth mixture.
After the preparation process is over, you need to strain from the mixture as much syrup as possible. For this purpose, line the kitchen trainer with cheesecloth and pour all the pulp in the cheesecloth. Then pull and twist the sides of the cheesecloth to strain the syrup.
If you want to make it thicker, you can replace the syrup into the saucepan and continue simmering until you get your desired thickness.
Now you see the difference between date paste and date syrup is - date paste is thicker than syrup and is more concentrated in sugar. And what is most important is that date syrup does not contain date pulp. Here are some more tips about date syrup
Date syrup, like date paste, can be stored in an airtight container. You can keep it for a few weeks.
Date syrup can easily replace maple syrup and honey and be used to pour on pancakes, waffles, etc.
You can also replace it with granulated sugar using 2 or 3 cups of date syrup for a cup of sugar and adding less liquid to your recipe.
Another healthiest alternative for granulated sugar is date sugar, which is again simple to prepare with minimal ingredients. As an ingredient, you need only dates that must be pitted. The process includes baking them in the oven and then grinding them in a coffee grinder or blending them in the food processor.
Dates (pitted) - depends on how much sugar you want to get
So, first of all, you need to preheat the oven to 100 C. Then pit the dates (if they are not pitted yet) and chop them in half. Arrange them evenly on the baking sheet and transfer them into the oven. Bake until they are semi-dry. Keep an eye on the stove so that your dates don't burn. You can lower the temperature if needed.
Take them back from the oven and let them for some time until they are completely cool. Finally, process them in the food processor, or grind them in the coffee grinder. Now you can use them as a substitute for refrained sugar or restore them in the refrigerator, keeping them in an airtight container for later use. They can be stored for up to several months.
The date sugar is a perfect alternative for non-healthy sugar if you want to bake something or use it as a sweetener for several other recipes.
Date syrup, date paste and date sugar are three of those several ways that you can make use of dates as healthier sweeteners. If you want to incorporate dates into your diet but don't want to eat them in the same way, these methods are fantastic ways to enjoy dates every day. They will never make you bored.
They are easy to prepare and don't require too many ingredients. They are always here to add some caramel flavour to your morning snacks. You can enjoy them poured on your ice cream, pancake, or biscuit, or just eat them alone. You can also find some tasty and yummy recipes made with dates in our other blog posts.