Date Paste: Ancient Natural Sweetener

A modern day favorite, dates have been a sweet treat for more than 5,000 years. The Medjool date made its way from Mesopotamia and was introduced into the U.S. in the 1920's when 11 roots were quarantined in Nevada for seven years. Nine plants survived, and were grown in Southern California in 1935. Medjool dates are most often found dried, but they can be picked and eaten fresh as well.

In addition to their natural sugars (66 g per 100g / 3.5 oz. serving), dates contain vitamins A and K, as well as many of the B vitamins. The minerals copper, selenium, magnesium and manganese contribute to their preventive health benefits. Just one serving provides seven grams of dietary fiber, which supports healthy gut function. Eating dates in moderation can protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, and that's good for the whole body, but keep in mind that they are still high in sugar and should be used sparingly.

Date paste can be used in baking, as a spread on your favorite cracker, and in chutneys and other recipes. You can also put your own spin on this recipe by adding spices such as cinnamon, cacao or cardamom. Experiment and see what sweet bliss you can create!

Equipment:

  • 1/2 litre Mason jar (or similar glass jar)
  • Food processor

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (450 grams) standard pitted or Medjool dates
  • About 3/4 cup water
  • Pinch of Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt
  • Splash of Pure Organic Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  1. Tightly pack the pitted dates in a Mason type glass jar. You should be able to cram about 450g in a half liter jar.
  2. Pour water over the dates until the jar is really full. Add water if needed to cover dates.
  3. Cover the jar. Soak dates overnight, at least 12 hours.
  4. After soaking, transfer the entire content of the jar, including the water, to the bowl of your food processor. The mixture should look chunky and gooey.
  5. Add vanilla and pinch of salt.
  6. Process dates on high speed for about 5-8 minutes, or until smooth and creamy. The longer you process, the smoother and creamier your paste will be. After 3 to 4 minutes, you will have obtained a paste, but it will still be somewhat grainy. Run the processor for a bit longer.
  7. After the desired consistency has been obtained, transfer your date paste back to your Mason jar. Place it in the fridge. Paste will darken after a few days. Keeps 3-4 months.