Dates are a unique, delicious and nutritious fruit that can provide us with plenty of health benefits. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic it may be difficult or impossible to get your hands on fresh dates.
But don’t worry, there are plenty of substitutes out there that will give you the same nutritional and sweetness boost without having to risk your safety. From frozen mango and banana slices to dried fruits such as apricots and figs, you can still enjoy all the amazing natural flavors without going outside.
So don’t let the pandemic stop you from getting your daily dose of vital minerals and vitamins; enjoy delicious date alternatives for a nutritious snack or dessert!
What is Dates?
Dates are a healthy snack filled with the sweetness of nature. They are the dried fruit of certain palm trees, usually growing in desert climates – the date palm is aptly named! Dates come in a variety of colors, from yellowish-brown to nearly black. They pack a lot of punch into their nutritious little frames, as dates offer natural sugar, fiber and calcium, an array of vitamins and minerals and even some diverse antioxidants and amino acids.
Whether you’re looking for an energizing on-the-go snack or for something special to add to your favorite recipes, dates will not disappoint. Rich in flavor and health benefits alike, dates may be just the natural treat you need!
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Why Substitutes Dates?
Dates are a unique and nutritious fruit that have been enjoyed for centuries. Not only are dates one of the most delicious fruits, they have many additional health benefits as well. Substituting dates in lieu of refined sugar is becoming increasingly popular since they contain natural sugars and provide rich sources of fiber, antioxidants and other essential nutrients like calcium, iron, vitamin K and magnesium.
Furthermore, substituting dates helps balance out blood sugar levels unlike their highly processed refined sugar counterparts. Dates are not only a more healthful sweetener but also offer a host of additional health benefits due to their high antioxidant content.
They can help boost immunity and reduce inflammation symptoms so adding them to your diet can be advantageous in many ways. Ultimately, substituting dates is a great way to incorporate a nutritious snack into your diet while providing numerous health benefits that make it worthwhile to try.
12 Best Dates Substitutes
If you’re looking for a substitute for dates, there are several options available. Here are some of the best substitutes for dates that you can use in recipes or as snacks.
1. Dried Raisins
Dried raisins are a delicious natural sweetener that can easily substitute for dates in any recipe. They provide a nutritional boost and offer sweetness with the same depth of flavor as dates, but eliminate the laborious task of deseeding them. Raisins are fat free, sodium free and have zero cholesterol, making them well worth including in your diet.
When used in baking they act as binding agents, provide bulk and sweeten dishes without adding sugar. Not only can raisins be substituted for dates in cookies, cakes and breads, but they also make an excellent add-in to smoothies or yogurt for breakfast or snacks. Whether drying out your own raisins or using store bought ones, dried raisins are a great go-to ingredient when you want to imitate the traditional taste of dates.
Prunes are a type of dried plum that can serve as an excellent substitution fordates when cooking or baking. They provide a sweet, delicious flavor similar to dates but with more fiber and less sugar. Prunes have a unique texture that make them great for use in many types of recipes, from grain-based dishes to desserts.
When substituting prunes for dates in recipes, it’s best to soak them in water brieflyuntil they become gummy, then mash them into small pieces and measure according to the recipe’s measurements for dates.
The possibilities when incorporating prunes into your favorite recipes are endless! Not only do they provide a sweet, delicious taste similar to dates but also provide added nutrition – making prunes a fantastic ingredient to substitute for the traditional date option!
3. Dried Cherries
Many people are now turning to dried cherries as a delicious and healthy alternative to dates. These juicy red gems are not only packed with natural sweetness but also offer excellent health benefits. They contain high amounts of antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Additionally, they can be used in place of dates in many recipes due to their similar flavor and texture. Dried cherries can be added to smoothies for sweetness, tossed with lentils or quinoa for extra flavor, or even paired with dark chocolate for a decadent treat. No matter how you choose to use them, dried cherries make an excellent substitution for dates and add wonderful nutrition and flavor to any meal!
4. Dried Cranberries
Dried cranberries are a wonderful substitution for dates. They add a sweet tart flavor to salads, cereals, trail mix, and more. The advantage of dried cranberries over dates is the fact that they’re easy to keep on hand. Unlike dates, you don’t need to worry about them going stale or turning moldy.
To use, simply swap out your dates for equal amounts of dried cranberries in recipes. Their texture makes them an ideal way to brighten up any dish with fruity goodness. If you’re looking for something different than just raisins or dried currants in dishes, dried cranberries are definitely worth giving a try!
5. Dried Apricot
Dried apricots are an ideal substitute for dates due to their similar flavor and texture profile. They have a deep, caramel-like sweetness to them that pairs well with earthy flavors like oatmeal and seeds such as walnuts or pumpkin.
Adding dried apricot pieces to porridge or muesli creates a beautiful sweet balance while topping toast or cakes with slivers of dried apricots gives just the right amount of luxurious tanginess. Baked goods and recipes such as energy balls benefit from the addition of dried apricots, as they offer naturally moisture that binds ingredients without adding extra wetness.
They are also surprisingly versatile additions to savory dishes such as poultry or curries – just small amounts are necessary in order to reap all the health benefits!
The jujube is an often underrated fruit that can be a great substitution for dates. With its crunchy texture, ‘apple-like’ taste and high nutritional content, the jujube can be enjoyed in a variety of recipes. The jujube has 18 essential amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates and minerals, making it a great source of daily dietary requirements.
The jujube is low in calories compared to dates yet contains multiple antioxidants that are just as beneficial in helping improve immunity and balancing out digestion.
To use the jujube in recipes as a substitute for dates, one must first natural dry the fruit either by air drying or sun drying followed by pulverization into your desired state – powder, chunks or slices. When cook meals where you would have normally used dates to sweeten softly cook them together with other ingredients and enjoy their delicious flavor!
7. Dried Berries
Dried berries are often seen as a healthier alternative to dates. Simply by eating less sugar and more fiber, dried berries give us all the nutrition that our body needs without requiring us to eat something with a high level of naturally occurring sugar.
Furthermore, dried berries are incredibly versatile and can be used in an array of dishes. In order to incorporate them into your meals, it couldn’t be simpler – just substitute any dates for an equal amount of dried berries in a recipe or even simply sprinkle them atop of yogurt, cereal, or smoothies. From sweetening treats like cakes and muffins to adding flavor and texture to hearty soups and stews, there’s no limit when it comes to using dried berries!
Figs have become increasingly popular as a substitution for dates due to their unique flavor and sweetness that can complement many dishes. Figs are incredibly versatile for creating flavors, from sweet desserts to savory main dishes. Since they have a low glycemic index, figs are great for people with diabetes or anyone looking for a healthy snack option.
When using figs instead of dates in recipes, it is recommended to slightly reduce the liquid used since figs tend to be more wet and soft than their date counterparts. Additionally, adding some citrus or nutmeg will help enhance the flavors that can be obtained from figs in baking recipes. With these small tweaks and tricks, utilizing figs as an alternative to dates opens up new possibilities in terms of creative recipes and delicious results!
9. Raisin Paste
Raisin Paste is becoming a popular substitute for dates, especially among those who are looking for a healthier diet. This paste offers a number of benefits and can be used as sweetener, thickener, or a binding agent to substitute certain dates in various recipes.
It is made from grapes that have been dried into raisins, ground and cooked with sugar to create a rich molasses-like texture that has the same fruity sweetness as dates. To achieve the desired results when baking with Raisin Paste, it should be added directly to batters or doughs instead of cream fillings or glazes because the sugar will not dissolve in those types of mixtures. The paste can also be used in place of half or all of the sugar depending on your desired level of sweetness – resulting in healthier desserts!
10. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup has been used in place of dates for centuries, dating all the way back to Native Americans. It has a unique flavor and texture compared to other sweeteners and is naturally gluten-free and vegan-friendly.
Many people have turned to maple syrup as an alternative to dates due to its rich taste and health benefits. Use it in baking recipes as a natural substitute for sugar or use it for sweetening healthy breakfast options like oatmeal or pancakes.
For something a bit more adventurous, get creative with using it in savory dishes with roasted vegetables or hearty grain dishes — the possibilities are endless! Maple syrup is full of flavor that adds sweetness without overpowering the other ingredients, making it an excellent substitute for dates.
11. Cane Sugar
Cane sugar is the perfect substitution for dates when baking, sweetening dishes, or making syrups. Not only does it have a much milder taste than pure cane sugar, but also its light sweetness adds more depth to any recipe. Plus, cane sugar’s easy availability make it an organic choice for many types of recipes.
To use cane sugar properly, aim for a ratio of up to 1:1 with the sugars in the recipe being substituted by Cane Sugar; but if you want the full sweetness and flavor that dates can offer without cloying your recipes too sweet then cut down the amount to half. With a little experimentation, using Cane Sugar as a substitute of dates can become second nature!
Cascara, also known as coffee cherry tea, is an up-and-coming natural beverage made of the dried skin and pulp surrounding the coffee bean. Not only can it be used as a delicious alternative to regular tea and brewed coffee, but its natural sweetness makes it an ideal substitute for dates.
To make cascara tea, simply steep two tablespoons of cascara in eight ounces of hot water (around 208°F) for five minutes. You can customize the flavor by steeping for shorter or longer periods of time depending on your taste preference – just like you would do with a cup of regular tea! Additionally, adding in spices such as cinnamon or ginger can add even more depth and vibrancy to your tea. Enjoy this unique beverage alone or pair it with your favorite snack for a truly delectable treat!
If you need something to add bulk to your recipe, raisins are a good choice.
When it comes to adding bulk to recipes, raisins are a hearty and wholesome option. Not only are they rich in dietary fiber, but they offer an intense sweetness that adds a pleasant contrast in savory dishes. From oatmeal cookies to couscous salads, raisins make for a delicious addition. Depending on the recipe, try soaking them in hot water or orange juice prior to adding them for an even richer flavor profile. Plus, raisins are easy to travel with and shelf-stable which makes them ideal for bringing along on trips or incorporating into meals when fresh produce is scarce. It’s no wonder why so many home cooks rely on raisins as a go-to ingredient!
Dates are a delicious and healthy fruit that can be enjoyed in many ways. If you don’t have dates on hand or can’t find them at the store, there are several substitutes that can be used in their place.
Dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, cherries, cranberries, apricots, and figs make good substitutions for dates. You can also use raisin paste or maple syrup as a substitution. If you need something to add bulk to your recipe, raisins are a good choice. Cane sugar or cascara can also be used as substitutes for date sugar.