Dates are a wonderful fruit. Perfect indulgence on their own and they can be added to so many dishes. They not only add sweetness but also a very distinctive flavour that almost resembles caramel. The simplest way of adding dates to dishes is by turning them into a paste. It sounds like quite a task but it is as easy as soaking them in water and blending them up the next day. Date paste stores well and is easily added to anything that requires some extra sweetness so give this a try!
In my humble opinion date paste should be a staple in every fridge because it is the easiest and most affordable way of getting dates into your diet.In an ideal world, we all could just feast on those very soft and sugary Medjool dates every single day but they do come with a hefty price tag. Mind you those large dates are worth the splurge but they also break the bank if you have a date eating habit. Don't worry you do not have to buy expensive dates for this paste. The cheap, rather dry looking varieties will serve you perfectly fine. As you can see on the picture below I buy pitted dates in bulk for date paste and it turns out tasting great.
The only thing you really have to pay attention to is making sure every single date is properly pitted. I once made this in a hurry and there were one or two dates in the mix that must have had a pit left in it. It sort of ruined the paste since it felt like eating something that has sand in it. I would highly recommend you check the dates as you add them to your jar. It is an extra minute of work but worth it. Once you squished them all together as tightly as possible, top the jar up with the water. It should just barely cover the dates.
When you take your jar out of the fridge most of the liquid will be absorbed and the date will be overly squishy. Pour the entire content of the jar into a blender or food processor and blend it up. You might be tempted to stop after a minute or two but don't.
In the start, your paste will look rather lumpy and while the taste will be the same no matter how long you blend it the texture plays a big role in this. After about 7-8 minutes it will come out as super creamy mass. Just look at how creamy this is. When you try this straight off the spoon you will be surprised by how intensely sweet this is.
Transfer your date paste into an airtight jar and keep it in the fridge. You might notice the colour has gone very pale and that is due to the air that gets into the mass while processing. It will darken again once it sets in the fridge so do not be alarmed. It has not gone off after a day or two. The first picture of the post is how it looks like once it is fully set but for now it will look like extremely fluffy peanut butter.
The general use by date for this is hard to estimate. My date paste tends to be used up within 8 weeks but I have set some aside in an extra jar to test how long it would take for it go off and I would not use it once it passed 3 months but let's keep it real, who can have a jar of this deliciousness in the fridge and not eat it within 3 months? I sure can't.
Date Paste - Home Made Sweetener
- 600 g dates pitted
- 250 ml water cold
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 vanilla pods scraped (optional)
- 1 jar or container that can hold 750ml or 3 ¼ cups liquid
- Place the dates into the jar and make sure to pack them tightly. Pour cold water into the jar. It should be enough to just cover the dates. Cover and let it sit in the fridge overnight or a minimum of 6 hours.
- The next day empty the jar into a blender or food processor and add the salt and vanilla - if you are using it. Process for about 7-8 minutes until perfectly smooth. You might be tempted to stop after a minute or two but don't. In the start, your paste will look rather lumpy and while the taste will be the same no matter how long you blend it the texture plays a big role in this.
- Transfer the date paste into an airtight jar and store in the fridge.