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Dates: Healthy and Tasty

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

Sometimes when you are in the specialty foods industry, you stumble upon exceptional products whose quality mirrors your own. This is exactly what happened with the line of farm-fresh dates that Heart of the Desert is now carrying. They make for a great snack and have a ton of health benefits. They also make for a great holiday appetizer.

What are dates?

Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, which are grown in many tropical regions of the world. Dates have become quite popular in recent years. Depending on the variety, fresh dates are fairly small in size and range in color from bright red to bright yellow. Medjool and Deglet Noor dates are the most commonly consumed varieties.

Dates are chewy with a sweet flavor. They are also high in some important nutrients and have a variety of advantages and uses.

Dates are Nutritious

Dates contain several vitamins and minerals. They are high in fiber, which may be beneficial for preventing constipation and controlling blood sugar control.

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.

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving provides the following nutrients:

Calories: 277

Carbs: 75 grams

Fiber: 7 grams

Protein: 2 grams

Potassium: 20% of the RDI

Magnesium: 14% of the RDI

Copper: 18% of the RDI

Manganese: 15% of the RDI

Iron: 5% of the RDI

Vitamin B6: 12% of the RDI

It’s important to note, dates are relatively high in calories and should be consumed in moderation.

Dates may Promote 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.

Excellent Natural Sweetener

Dates are a source of fructose, which is a natural type of sugar found in fruit.

For this reason, dates are very sweet and have a subtle caramel-like taste. They make a great healthy substitute for sugar in recipes due to the nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants that they provide.

The best way to substitute dates for white sugar is to make date paste, as in this recipe. It is made by mixing dates with water in a blender. A rule of thumb is to replace sugar with date paste at a 1:1 ratio. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, you’ll replace it with 1 cup of date paste.

It is important to note that although dates are high in fiber and nutrients, they are still fairly high in calories and best consumed in moderation.

Easy to Add to your Diet

Dates are incredibly versatile and make a delicious snack. They are 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. You can also combine dates with nuts and seeds to make healthy snack bars or energy balls.

What’s more, you can use dates to sweeten up sauces, such as salad dressings and marinades, or blend them into smoothies and oatmeal.

Holiday Appetizer Recipe Using Dates:

Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Dates

Most everyone’s favorite Spanish Tapa is a bacon-wrapped stuffed date. They are hard to put down and are definitely craveable. They also make for a delicious holiday appetizer and are fairly simple to make.

Because it’s too hard to decide which is better, almond stuffed or Manchego cheese stuffed, we say make a variety of both!

Ingredients:

30 Medjool Dates, pitted

1 lb of Manchego Cheese cut into 15 blocks

30 salted and roasted almonds

2 lbs of thin bacon cut in half

Toothpicks

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

Make an incision into each date. Fill half with the blocks of Manchego cheese and the other half with two almonds each.

Wrap each date with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick

Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet

Roast in the oven until the bacon starts to crisp, 5-6 minutes. Then flip for the other side to crisp.

Serve hot

YUM!

To sum it up, dates are definitely worth adding to your diet, as they are both nutritious and delicious. You can now find dates at Heart of the Desert either in one of our stores or online.

Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.