A Date to Remember

You should get to know Medjool (or her cousin Deglet Noor) – she is an excellent date!

One of my latest loves is a wrinkly crinkly, amber colored beautifully sweet treat. Her name is Medjool. She is known for being a knockout, full of sweetness with hints of honey, caramel and cinnamon.

Her cousin Deglet Noor is awesome too; however she is a bit drier with less sweetness.  She makes up for it simply because she happens to be almost 1/3 the price per pound.

Your tasting skills and math skills will probably agree - although I prefer Medjool to taste she runs about $8 a pound. On the other hand, Deglet Noor from the bulk bin at the grocery store runs $3 a pound.

Until recently, admittedly I have shunned the date. For whatever reason, I equated them with mince meat filling, canned stewed prunes or the creepy scary fruit cake.

I am not a big fan of flavors like clove or allspice and had erroneously assumed dates had a flavor profile that included strong brown spices. In my world, dates had been tucked into the “thanks, but no” category.

Are you still thinkin’… ohh, dates shamtes, they are for old people. Dried brown fruit is what retirees request when they are traveling. If that is the case, retirees know where it’s at cuz these things are as tasty as they are good for you.

Open your gee-whiz file and insert these two nifty tidbits.

Dates happen to be the oldest cultivated fruit in the world dating back 6,000 years in the Middle East. Further, the date palm is known as the Tree of Life in the Middle East due to their life sustaining nature for traveling nomads and (ok, I squished in a 3rd nifty tidbit) happens to be mentioned in the Bible and the Qur’an.

Our meeting was not as a starving nomad searching the desert for nourishment but rather a whim and a recipe that intrigued me.

Medjool was discovered when my nomad fingertips and google skills discovered it was possible to make my own whole food energy bars.

I was tired of thick, hard to chew slabs of shoe leather when hiking or cycling and went for it. It just so happens that they are also excellent in lunch boxes and for road trip snackage too.

Whole Food Energy Bites

  • 1 cup dates (I use Deglet Noor, if you use Medjool use less liquid)
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ¼ cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 2-3 Tbsp hydrated chia seeds (soak 1 ½ Tbsp chia in 1/2 cup water overnight)

Dump all the ingredients in the Cuisinart and pulse until it starts to form a ball. It’s loud so don’t do it during the little ones nap time. Or you could flip the switch when the kiddos are arguing so you don’t have to listen to it.

You can roll into balls and refrigerate or plop into a small container and dig it out as you need it.

Super fancy types can line a 9x9 pan (or even something smaller for a thicker bar) with wax paper and press dough evenly. Refrigerate for an hour or so then cut into squares. Layer  bars with wax paper because they do get sticky and are harder to separate when they are cold.

I made those bars religiously for several months then decided I was tired of cleaning the Cuisinart and came up with my next best idea.  Medjool or Deglet Noor dates plus roasted unsalted cashews, in my mouth at the same time. The end. Sweets fix accomplished using whole, unprocessed natural foods.

My tiny hiking pouch holds a container of dates and cashews instead of energy bars. BAM…super good, whole food packed with the calories a body needs to get the job done right.

Far from being hidden with the likes of stewed prunes, Medjool and Deglet Noor are gorgeous wrinkly amber treasures. Treasures filled with the sweetness our pallets crave but with the goodness of being a whole unprocessed food (fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals).

Oh my goodness, where is my head? Dates are also EXCELLENT at sweetening fruit and veggie smoothies. 

Just make sure the pit has been removed first. Your blender will thank you.

Way back, long ago…I added sugar to our smoothies to get my pickies to drink them. I am not ashamed I added sugar, I had to get my pickies hooked just like Big Foods does with high fructose corn syrup. BUT if I had known about dates I could have skipped those first few weeks of straight sugar being added to our blends.

I have two requests of you today: first - try these babies. I used them to help slow down my chocolate consumption. Gasp…it’s so true. I have to work super hard each day to slow down on the sweets. Second – subscribe, share and like with your friends who you think would love articles like this.

Happy Dating!