Dates: Eat Nature’s Raw Caramel
Dates are a crazy versatile sweetener. I dub fresh medjool dates nature’s caramel. Honestly when that soft, gooey, sweet mass hits your tongue it’s not far from euphoria. Maybe I’m getting out of hand, but try this: dates dipped in almond butter then rolled in dried coconut flakes. Oh my sakes.
The sweet marshmallow-y and caramel like taste comes from the delicious blend of glucose, fructose, sucrose, and maltose. Yes, dates are a big ball of sugar. Popping a date in my mouth before a quick workout gives me just the boost of energy I need. Mid morning coffee break? Nah, have some dates dipped in nut butter. I promise it will be a much better pick me up.
Unlike uber refined sweeteners dates are a good source of fiber, potassium, manganese, and vitamin B6. I’m partial to medjool dates but there are several options in the supermarket. For baking and making raw crusts I usually use deglet nour dates. They are dry enough that I can chop them into small pieces without turning into mush (and they are usually much cheaper than medjool). A few ways I love to use dates are in raw granolas, binding nut crusts, making dessert balls, and as a sweetener for smoothies and nut milks. Do yourself a favor and add these to your shopping list.
Look for dates that are shiny, uniform in color, and not split or broken. I store my dates in a glass jar in the fridge. They can last in the fridge for a few months or up to a year in the freezer.
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