There are many ingredients that can be polarizing to many who eat them, and one of those ingredients is dates. After hearing mixed reviews of dates, we are sure you are curious to try one for yourself, but before you go out and buy something you might not like, you might want to ask yourself; what does a date taste like?
We always recommend looking up what to expect from a new ingredient before trying them, but if it sounds like you might like it, we highly encourage you to branch out and try something new.
In this article, we are going to look at what dates actually are and explain precisely what they taste like.
Let’s dive in.
What are Dates?
Dates are small brown fruit that grows on the flowering date palm. [*]
These palms have been cultivated in the Middle East and Indus Valley for thousands of years and form a crucial part of many dishes in these communities.
The fact that 8.5 million dates are produced every year just goes to show how their global popularity has grown since then.
Dates can be bought fresh, whole dried, and dried and compressed into blocks for baking.
What Do Dates Taste Like?
Dates have a strong flavor that is very sweet and often compared to dark caramel.
Dates that are fresh have a sweet and rich flavor, but this flavor gets more robust when they are dried.
Fresh and dried figs may look similar since they have a wrinkled appearance even when fresh, but this look only intensifies as they dry out, just like their flavor.
If you are a fan of protein balls and bars, you are likely to have already tasted dates, as this is where most of their sweetness comes from.
FACT: It should be noted that dates grow with a large pit, so you should check that your dates are pitted before trying one.
Dates are so tasty that they can be eaten on their own as a very healthy sweet snack.
How Can Dates Be Used?
Dates are popular in many cuisines, including Middle Eastern, Northern African, Spanish, and British, but they are used all over the world.
Even though they have an intense sweetness, dates can be used in sweet and savory dishes. Their fruitiness and sweetness combine well with salty and sour flavors to create a balanced dish.
We love eating dates on their own as a snack, but they also make excellent finger food for a party. Once pitted, they can be stuffed with cream cheese, nuts, tahini, marzipan, and anything else you can come up with!
They also work well when stuffed and wrapped in bacon, as the sweetness and saltiness create the perfect bite.
Since they are a natural sweetener, dates are often used to add sweetness without having to use processed sugar. They are very popular in the UK for making classic puddings with deep fruity flavors.
Depending on the brand, you will find dried dates in mixed bags of dried fruit and trail mix.
Here are some examples of dishes that use dates [*]:
- Sticky Date Pudding- United Kingdom
- Protein Date Balls
- Ka’ak- Middle East
- Tagines- Morocco
- Christmas pudding- United Kingdom
What Are The Health Benefits of Eating Dates?
Dates are nutrient-rich fruits with so many health benefits that you will want to chomp on a few dailies. [*] As we mentioned, dates make a very convenient snack, and the health benefits only make them even more tempting!
The health benefits of dates include:
- High in fiber- Fiber improves digestion and overall gut health, as well as being an effective treatment for constipation.
- High in antioxidants- Crucial for fighting disease, antioxidants are an essential part of our diet. Dates contain flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acid in particular.
- Increases bone health- Due to the concentration of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, dates are very good for your bones. This can also help fight off osteoporosis in old age.
- Blood sugar control- Due to their low glycemic index, fiber content, and antioxidants, dates are great for people with diabetes and anyone looking to regulate their blood sugar.
- Contains potassium, copper, manganese, iron, vitamin B6, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium- These are good for a multitude of reasons and promote a healthy, balanced body.
Now that you are better acquainted with dates, what have we learned about their flavor?
- Dates have an intense caramel flavor with a deep richness.
- Dried dates have a stronger flavor than fresh figs.
- Dates can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
The next time you are on a shopping trip, why not pop some dates into your basket and give them a try?