Wednesday, March 2, 2011

AtV Staple: Date Paste - With OR Without a Food Processor!

If there's one recipe (other than AtV Sour Cream) that I always have in my kitchen it's Date Paste.
I include Dates in a LOT of my recipes, and they are without a doubt my personal favorite Sweetener of choice. I really don't like to use anything else!

Today I'm gonna show you how to make this Date Paste TWO WAYS. 
The First way will be with a Food Processor (how I always make it). 
The Second way is man powered, with a Mortar & Pestle. All you need is patience and some gusto!

A Few Important Things About Date Paste
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Why do I Use Medjool Dates
For a few different reasons: 
- They are the largest and most tender Date that I have been able to find. 
- They are also one of the most naturally sweetest Dates, with flavor notes similar to Brown Sugar and Vanilla
- They can often be purchased in bulk (found in the produce section of your grocery store) 
- As a whole Date they keep for a very long time - just remember to store them in your refrigerator
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Always Always Always Soak your Dates Before using them in recipes!
Soak your Dates in Warm Water until they are soft enough to remove the Pitt by hand. 
I usually soak my dates anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. 
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Don't Forget to Remove the Pitt! 
The best way to do this is after Soaking your Dates. 
They will be nice and tender - and you should be able to easily remove the Pitt with your fingers.
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Can you substitute another type of Date when making Date Paste?
 I don't recommend this, but if you must the closest Taste & Texture you will find to the Medjool Date is The Black Sphinx Date. They are slightly smaller than the Medjool, but still very sweet and tender.
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One Last Helpful Hint
Make your Date Paste in bulk. It will store for 2 to 3 months in the freezer. 
I do this all the time - storing them in 1 cup batches in either freezer bags or glass jars with lids. This is another great way to be prepared for making Raw Vegan Recipes (or even non Raw Vegan). The more advanced food prep the better!
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How about the Recipe?
Date Paste - With a Food Processor
This recipe yields roughly 2 cups of Date Paste. If you think this may be too much then you can freeze half of the batch.

Step 1. Prepping your Dates:

Soak 40 Medjool Dates in Warm Water until your Dates are tender/soft.
 Remove your Dates from the soaking water
Remove the seeds by hand - make sure to get all of them!
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Step 2. Making your Date Paste:

Combine the following into your Food Processor
All of the Dates from Step 1.
2 Tbsp Water 

Depending on how large your food processor is you may need to stop processing in intervals to scrape down the sides of your food processor - don't let this discourage you.
Puree your Dates until they have become a thick whipped and creamy texture. Place your date paste in an air tight container and store in the fridge or freezer.
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Date Paste by Hand - with a Mortar & Pestle

This is the most efficient way to make Date Paste if you only need a small amount, OR if you don't have a Food Processor. You won't get it as creamy and whipped as you will with a Processor, but you will still have the same wonderful flavor, and creamy consistency. Get your muscles ready!
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Step 1. Prepping your Dates:

Soak your Medjool Dates in Warm Water until your Dates are tender/soft
Remove your Dates from the soaking water
Remove the seeds by Hand - make sure to get all of them!
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Step 2. Making your Date Paste with your Mortar & Pestle:
Put 3 Dates into your Mortar with 1/2 tsp of Water
Proceed to Mash/Grind/Pound your Dates with your Pestle until they have become a paste. This could anywhere up to 3 minutes. If you have a small Mortar like I do then I recommend making Date Paste with no more than 3 to 4 Dates at a time. Just remember: No more than 1/2  tsp of Water for every 3 Dates.

Your finished product should look something like this:
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Try this: 
Add Vanilla Bean to your Date Paste before Processing.
Add fresh Lemon Juice in place of water for a tangy sweetener.


I hope this was helpful! Please be sure to bookmark this for future AtV recipes too.

xoxo,

12 comments:

  1. Thank you, thank you for this! I made a date-sweetened chocolate cake the other day but I KNEW I was doing something wrong/the hard way. Huge help.

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  2. That looks so good... I have not ever made date paste but I think I might do so soon. 2 questions... how do you think figs+dates would taste together in a paste? And if I buy my dates pre-pitted does that mean they are dried before packaging?
    Allie

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  3. Thank you Foodfeud! I'm so glad to get your feedback!

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  4. Hey Allie! Thank you for your questions:

    1. I'm so glad you asked! This is a great idea and something I've done in the past! Figs & Dates together are a wonderful combo - I would recommend the figs be dried though. I've also added dried Apricots and dried apple to my date paste and it's turned out lovely.

    2. I've never actually seen pitted dates before so I'm not to sure on this one. If you purchase your dates in the refrigerated section then they most likely are *not* dried.

    Hope this helps!

    xo

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  5. Love date paste!! I made my most recent batch by soaking them in fresh coconut water and them making it into a paste, it was so good--used it all up before I could even freeze some; oops.
    Peace and Raw Health,
    Elizabeth

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  6. Can you make this in a Blendtec or Vita Mix blender? My food Processor had a very untimely death :(

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  7. All I have ever seen in my area are dried dates...will it still work?

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  8. ps. costco sells a container of about 50 medjool dates for about $8-9. They are not dried and pretty dang good quality. I bot a box and just made this date paste. I have some in the fridge and freezer - thanks for the recipe! I am LOVING this blog.

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  9. What do I use it for besides smoothies?

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  10. How long does the date paste keep in the fridge?

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  11. thanks so much for the tip! my family and I are new raw vegans (currently transitioning) and its so hard to find a guide or get sinple questions answered! ur site was easy to navigate and Im excited to explore more!!!! (My dates were totally still chuncky in my smoothies and nanacream and thoes chunks bothered my 3 year old son. he's texture sensitive and a total prince, lol! so since tgis is all new I wanted to try to fix this problem) THANKS AGAIN!!!!!

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