How to Prepare Dates

Dear Wen,
How do you prepare dates?




Dear Freda,

Dates are very simple to prepare. The first thing to do is to remove the pit. Make a slit in the skin and gently separate the flesh. Pull out the pit. That is really all.

Dates can be eaten whole, stuffed, or chopped and used in most recipes which use raisins. Just chop the dates and use equal amounts in the recipes.

Fresh dates should be well wrapped and refrigerated. They only last about 2 weeks even in the refrigerator, so use them up quickly. Dried dates will last much longer if kept in an airtight container.

Try these recipes:

Grated Carrot and Date Salad first printed in The San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 1995

  • 1/2 c Crumbled Gorgonzola blue-cheese
  • 1/2 c Olive oil
  • 5 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb Carrots
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted
  • Dandelion, arugula or young lettuce leaves for garnish

Combine the cheese, olive oil, vinegar and pepper in a bowl, mashing and whisking the cheese to make a thick dressing. Peel the carrots, then grate them on the large holes of hand-held grater to make 1 cup. Chop the dates into pieces about the size of corn kernels.

Add the dressing to the carrots and the dates, and stir until they are well coated. Transfer to a serving bowl or to individual salad plates and garnish with dandelion, arugula or lettuce. Serves 6-8.


Couscous and Dates

  • 2 cups fat-free chicken stock or vegetarian stock (or water)
  • 1/3 cup dates, pitted and sliced
  • 1/3 cup dried figs or prunes, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups couscous

In 3-quart saucepan, heat stock, dates, figs, butter and salt to boiling. Stir in couscous and remove saucepan from heat. Cover and set aside 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with fork before serving. Serves 4 as a side dish.


Date Snack

  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • optional powdered sugar

Grind together dates, raisins, cocoa, walnuts and sunflower seeds in a food processor. Press the mixture into 24 small balls. Roll in the powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container.


Best wishes,
Wen Zientak

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