Once the manna of hikers and hippies, dried fruits are showing up everywhere as a healthy snack idea.
Dates are the perfect glucose nuggets for pre-workout or quick energy during a long run but they are also a portable simple snack - and a little goes a long way. Your children only need two dates to provide a quick pick me up before or after soccer practice to replenish fuel stores but not ruin a wee appetite.
I recently flew to the Bard Valley in Arizona and was duly impressed with how Natural Delights Medjool Dates are respectfully grown and harvested. They are actually a fresh fruit since they don’t go through a drying process. They grow high up in date palms and require little, if any, spraying for pests. They are hand harvested and shipped in short order.
Straight up as a snack or mashed into date squares has been the only way most people enjoy them so far, but they really are seeing their share of the culinary and nutritional limelight.
Here are some ways to serve up these mineral and fibre dense babies so your babies can enjoy them:
- Puree and roll into balls along with nuts and cinnamon for an excellent appetizer or accompaniment to a cheese platter.
- They are a great ingredient in loaves as they add anti-oxidants along with sweetness. Simply replace ½ cup of sugar in a baked good with ¼ cup of mashed pitted dates.
- Dried Dates can be sliced in half, spread with goat’s cheese and lightly baked and then drizzled with balsamic for a stunning appetizer.
- Wrap some prosciutto or a thin slice of bacon around a pitted date and bake at 400F for 5-10 minutes for a great appetizer.
- Chopped into salads and stews for an added zing of sweetness.
- Think about simmering them with water, fresh ginger and a splash of sherry for chutney that will make any turkey sandwich sing.
The only thing to keep in mind is that dried fruit is a source of concentrated calories so a little is all you need. Dates are very filling with very little fuss.
About the Author:
Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and private nutritionist in Toronto. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com