If you’ve never eaten a date and always wondered what dates taste like, they are often sold in grocery stores year-round but especially at the holidays.
Dates are rich, nutrient-dense, and have an intensely sweet taste, and the sweetness develops as the dates dry out.
However, fresh Medjool dates are often as sweet as their dry counterparts. They also have a caramel-y flavor and taste quite buttery.
Other varieties of dates can have a mild sweetness to them and feature a bit of tanginess as well. Dates’ sweetness also intensifies when they become drier.
Dates have a similar texture to raisins: chewy, somewhat dense, with intense sweetness.
But they are bigger than raisins, and are anywhere from 1 inch to 3 inches long.
How to store dates
You can store dates at room temperature by putting them in an airtight container. Note that their flavor might diminish when they get to be stored like that for so long.
So, please consume dried dates within two months of storage.
If you want dates to maintain their freshness for an extended period, then put the dates in a plastic container or baggie and store them in a cool, dry place.
If you have a huge batch of dates and you want them to last longer, then it’s best to keep them in your freezer. Just make sure to portion the dates into small containers so that you can thaw and use them easily.
What are Medjool dates?
Medjool dates are large, intensely sweet dates that are native to Morocco.
Today, Medjool dates are grown in warm regions of the Middle East, Africa, the United States, and South Asia. They are brown and black, have a moist, rich texture, and have an exceptionally sweet and caramel-like taste.
When dried, medjool dates are sticky and sweet.
How to eat dates
Fresh dates can be eaten as is, thanks to their sweet flavor and soft, rich texture.
They go amazingly well with a steaming mug of tea or coffee. There are many other ways in which you can eat dates. But before you use them in cooking, you need to remove the pits first.
For pitted dates, use a knife to slice the date (lengthwise) and pop out the pit from the fruit's center.
You can put the sliced dates on top of fresh toast layered with honeyed ricotta cheese for a mouthwatering meal.
Another great way to enjoy fresh and dried dates is to chop them up into tiny pieces and sprinkle the pieces over ice cream, yogurt, and even oatmeal.
You can also chop the dates and throw them in homemade slaws or salads to add a delightful sweetness to your dish.
You can also serve pitted dates stuffed with blue cheese as a tasty appetizer or add them to a cheeseboard. You can also blend the dates and add the sweet paste to marinades, glazes, or braises for savory dishes.
Dried date bread is a favorite in my household! You can also prepare date jelly to have with fresh toast.
Do dates taste like caramel?
Yes, some varieties of dates, such as Medjool dates, have a distinct caramel flavor.
The flavor is so pronounced that you can also use these dates to make a delectable vegan caramel sauce!
When to toss your dates
Even though dried dates have a long life, fresh dates can also go bad if not stored properly.
If your stored dates develop a dusty film, there’s a high chance that they have mold. It would be best if you discard such dates right away because they are inedible.
If they start giving off a rancid, off-putting smell, then you should toss them in the trash.
But if dates only have a white sugary coating, this just means that the sugar has crystallized on the surface. It may change the texture slightly but it probably hasn’t gone bad.
The bottom line
Whether fresh or dried, dates have a delectably sweet flavor. Some dates have a caramel-like sweet taste and a buttery texture, while some taste a bit tangy and chewier.
So, now that you know everything about dates, go ahead and add them into your favorite dishes that could make use of their flavor.