What are Medjool dates? Here’s everything you need to know about dates fruit, from nutrition, Medjool vs Deglet Noor, how to eat them, and the best recipes!
Dates are one of those foods that I avoided for the longest time, not really knowing what to do with them. You too? Great! Today we are going to learn about all things DATE! We’ll start by answering the question, “What is a date?” then look at nutrition facts, how to eat them, and some of the tastiest Medjool dates recipes.
The next time you end up with a bunch of dates from Costo or Trader Joe’s you’ll have plenty of ideas for using them up.
What are Dates?
Dates are stone fruit, just like peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, olives, and mangos. They grow in large clusters on Date Palm trees (Phoenix dactylifera) that originated in the Middle East. Dates have been eaten in that region for thousands of years and are now farmed all over the world, particularly in dry areas of California, Arizona, Inda, Mexico, Northern Africa.
There are different varieties of dates, but the most common in U.S. markets are Medjool and Deglet Noor. They are a bit like a large raisin with a pit in the middle. They have a long shelf life (up to a year refrigerated or a few months at room temperature!) and are sold fresh (though their wrinkly appearance makes them look dried) or slightly dried but not dehydrates. As they age and dry, they become sweeter. They are very sweet and have a soft slightly chewy caramel-like flavor.
You can find dates in most grocery stores these days, at least in the U.S., You may be able to find them at your local farmers market depending on where you live. Both Medjool and Deglet Noor dates are sold at the farmers market here in Santa Barbara. The best deal I’ve seen on pitted and whole dates is at Costo and Trader Joe’s.
Medjool vs. Deglet Noor
Medjool dates are darker, larger, and have a sweeter caramel flavor than the other varieties, making it the most popular date variety. It’s no surprise they are referred to as “Bakers Choice” as they make a wonderful natural sweetener and sugar alternative. The stickiness of Medjool dates makes them great for binding other ingredients together while adding sweetness.
Deglet Noor dates are less sweet and have a nuttier, buttery flavor. Their dryer texture makes them ideal for chopping and adding to quickbreads or adding to salads.
Though dates are very high in natural sugar, they provide many healthy nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Furthermore, they actually have a low glycemic index (GI), which means they shouldn’t cause a major blood sugar spike.
Let’s look at the nutrition facts. 1 Medjool date (24 grams) contains around:
- Calories: 66
- Carbs: 18 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Protein: 0.4 grams
- Sugar: 16 grams
- Fiber: 1.5 grams
- Calcium: 1% of the daily value (DV)
- Iron: 1% DV
- Potassium: 3.5% DV
- Copper: 9% DV
- Vitamin B6: 3.5% DV
- Magnesium: 3% DV
- Cheese (Brie, Parmesan, Risottoa, Blue, Mascarpone)
- Ice cream
- Nuts (Hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios)
- Maple Syrup
Ways to Use Dates
Dates are a great snack as-is, once pitted, but there are many other ways to use them. I most often stuff them with almond butter (see recipe below), use to sweeten smoothies, or to make energy balls and bars sweet and sticky.
- As a natural sweetener.
- In smoothies and shakes.
- Sweeten homemade nut milk.
- Chopped and added to salads.
- Pre-workout energy snack.
- Natural dessert.
- Stuffed with gorgonzola for a savory-sweet appetizer.
- Bliss Balls
- Healthy Date Shake
- No-Bake Brownie Energy Bars
- Peanut Butter Protein Snack Bars
- Date Caramel Sauce
- Vegan Eggnog
- Vegan Chocolate Fudge
- Easy Date Balls
- Coconut Ginger Date Oatmeal
- Apple Pie Smoothie
- 5 Mejool Dates
- 5 tablespoons natural almond butter
- 2 tablespoons shredded coconut
- If your dates are not pitted, use a paring knife to cut a slit crosswise halfway through the dates. Remove and discard the pits.
- Use a small spoon to fill the centers with almond butter.
- Sprinkle with coconut.
- Enjoy immediately or cover and keep at room temperature or refrigerate. Stuffed dates make a great anytime snack, energy bite, or dessert.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 127Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 4g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.