Dates are considered to be the poor man’s exotic dry fruit and are very popular especially in the Middle East and other Arabic countries from where they originate. They are also popular in these regions because dates have the ability to grow on trees that require very little hydration as compared to other dry fruits.
Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, which is grown in many tropical regions of the world. Dates have become quite popular in recent years. Almost all dates sold in Western countries are dried. You can tell whether or not dates are dried based on their appearance. A wrinkled skin indicates they are dried, whereas a smooth skin indicates freshness.
Dates are chewy with a sweet flavour. They are also high in some important nutrients and have a variety of advantages and uses. Depending on the variety, fresh dates are fairly small in size and range in colour from bright red to bright yellow. Medjool and Deglet Noor dates are the most commonly consumed varieties. Dates like most other dry fruits are also known to be very nutritious which is why they are widely consumed by people especially when they are fasting due to health or religious concerns since dates are also very filling.
Nutrition Value of Dates
As mentioned above dates have an excellent nutrition profile. Since they’re dried, the calorie content in dates is higher than most fresh fruit. In fact, the calorie content of dates is similar to that of other dried fruits, such as raisins and figs. Most of the calories in dates come from carbs. The rest come from a very miniscule quantity of protein. But despite their high calory content, dates contain some important vitamins and minerals in addition to a significant amount of fibre.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving provides 277 calories, 75 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fibre, 2grams of protein, Potassium, Magnesium, Copper, Iron, Manganese and Vitamin B6.
Apart from being rich in fibre and high in calories, dates are also very high in antioxidants content which automatically makes them a front runner in providing several other health benefits as well.
Dates Health Benefits
Dates are high in fibre, which may be beneficial for preventing constipation and controlling blood sugar control. This also makes them excellent for a filling snack because they will satiate your hunger and fill up your appetite in immediate small quantities.
Another dates health benefit is that they are excellent to fight diseases and keep immunity at a high. Dates contain several types of antioxidants that may help prevent the development of certain chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
Dates benefits also include the bettering of brain health. Dates may be helpful for lowering inflammation and preventing plaques from forming in the brain, which is important for preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
Dates are a source of fructose, which is a natural type of sugar found in fruit. Dates are very sweet and also have a subtle caramel-like taste. They make a great healthy substitute for white sugar in recipes due to the nutrients, fibre and antioxidants that they provide.
A dates benefit on the culinary side of things is that they are incredibly versatile and make for a delicious snack just by themselves. They are also often paired with other foods, such as almonds, nut butter or soft cheese. Dates are also very sticky, which makes them useful as a binder in baked goods, such as cookies and bars. Check out our dates health benefits equipped recipes below.
Recipes with Dates Health Benefits
- 1 cup dates / khajoor, seedless
- 1 tbsp ghee / clarified butter
- ½ cup almonds / badam, chopped
- ½ cup cashew / kaju, chopped
- 2 tbsp raisins/ kishmish
- ¼ cup dry coconut / copra, chopped
- 1 tsp poppy seeds / khus khus
- Firstly, take 1 cup seedless dates in a blender and blend to coarse paste without adding any water. Keep aside.
- In a large kadai heat 1 tbsp ghee and add ½ cup almonds, ½ cup cashew, 2 tbsp dates and ¼ cup dry coconut.
- Roast on low flame for 5 minutes or till nuts turn crunchy.
- Now add 1 tsp poppy seeds and roast for 2 minutes.
- Add in crushed dates and mix well.
- Continue to fry on medium flame smashing dates with a spatula. This helps dates to separate out and mix uniformly with other dry fruits.
- Furthermore, sauté till the dates start releasing oil.
- Turn off the flame and allow to cool for a minute or 5.
- Then immediately start making laddus. Do not cool completely, then you won’t be able to make laddus.
- Finally, serve immediately or store dates ladoo in airtight container for a month or more.
- 1 pound Medjool dates pits removed, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- ¼ cup pistachios chopped
- ¼ cup cashews chopped
- Add ¼ cup of chopped pistachios and 1 tablespoon of honey to a bowl and mix well. Set aside for now.
- Add the chopped dates to a saucepan over medium heat along with ghee and cardamom. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring the dates frequently so they do not burn.
- Reduce the heat to low, and stir until the mixture forms a paste (about 5 more minutes).
- Add almond slices and cashews and mix well. Let this mixture cool to touch.
- Once you can handle the mixture, use a rolling pin to roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper.
- Place pistachio mixture in a row on top of the rolled-out date sheet – and then use your fingers to roll it up into a log (like you would sushi).
- Roll the exterior of the log in finely shredded coconut flakes, cover in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge until firm (2 hours).
- Once firm, cut into slices. Serve at room temperature.
Since dates or the date palm is not really indigenous to India, buying dates from vendors locally can be a tricky affair in terms of quality as well as price. To ensure that you are getting only premium quality and at the right price you should consider to buy dates online. In fact, you should ideally buy all your dry fruits online. Inaaya Snack Smarter is one such trusted vendor who delivers to your doorstep all over the country and their goods are always fresh and well packaged at very reasonable prices.