Date Paste – A Healthier Alternative to Sugar!

Date paste is an ideal natural sweetener, that’s a healthier alternative to normal, white, granulated sugar. Made from 100% dates with the stones removed, date paste is simply made from real fruit, and therefore has all the benefits of eating whole fruit.

Dates contain a whole host of nutrients and carbohydrates. So they don’t just add sweetness, they add vitamins, minerals and all important, belly loving, fibre.

Originally from the Middle East, here in the Western world, we’re now discovering the benefits of dates. We’re using them in all kinds of cooking, baking and snacking as we all become more health conscious.

So here’s our round up of the wonders of date paste.


SWEETENING DISHES WITH WHOLE FRUIT

Until recent years, the options for adding sweetness to our food was pretty much confined to plain old sugar. Perhaps sometimes, we might have gone rogue and used honey. But sugar is now ‘bad’ and honey is pretty expensive, not to mention not suitable for vegans.

Now, we have much more choice and for many, date paste is a favoured, tasty, cost effective and healthier alternative to sugar.

Not only does date paste add a natural sweetness to baking, it’s ideal for helping vegan bake mixtures bind together. In non-vegan baking, eggs help the mixture form a sticky paste. Vegan egg replacers tend to be messy and not very successful, but date paste is the perfect answer to both sweetness and stickiness.

Whether you’re making a traditional cake or something more complex like a tiramisu or chocolate truffles, date paste will be your saviour.

Date paste is also found in foods where you really wouldn’t expect it. Did you know that the brown sauce you add to your fry ups and bacon sandwiches contains dates?

Next time you add a dollop of brown sauce, take a moment to notice it’s sweetness, hidden amongst all that tanginess. Dates are one of the main ingredients in the nation’s favourite sauce, and it would taste really quite different without them.

You can also use dates in savoury chutneys to cut through the flavours of the other sharp and spicy ingredients.


HOW TO MAKE DATE PASTE

Date paste might sound like an exotic ingredient, that’s expensive and hard to come by. But the reality is, it’s really simple and easy to make yourself at home, using your favourite type of dates.

All you need to do is soak your chosen dates in a bowl of hot water from the kettle for a few minutes. You’ll notice the dates starting to soften and break down. (it’s important to make sure you use pitted dates, or that you’ve pitted them yourself.)

Then, pour the whole lot into a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. You can keep it a bit rough if you like. A more fibrous date paste is ideal for using as a binding agent in baking. Keep the blender going for a while longer if you prefer a smoother date paste. This is more suited to using in sauces and chutneys.

If all this feels like it would end up as a bit of a sticky mess, then you could always leave it to the professionals. Here at Global Foods, we supply two different types of date paste.

Deglet Nour date paste has a rougher texture, ideal for baking. Whilst our Zahidi date paste is a very fine, smooth consistency, perfect for sauces and fillings.

If you’re a catering company, or you make or supply foods that require date paste, we’ve been supplying companies just like yours for many years. So why not drop us a line to see how we can benefit your business?


HEALTH BENEFITS OF DATES

When we eat a sweet food, or one that contains carbohydrates (sugar is a carbohydrate), sugar, or glucose floods the blood. How quickly it does this, is called its Glycaemic Index, or GI.

Foods with a high GI, send glucose into the blood very quickly, and sugar itself has the highest GI of 100. That’s why we get an instant hit of energy when we eat something sugary.

Which sounds great. But that immediate high comes with an inevitable, and quick, low. Our energy levels crash, and we feel that slump so common in the afternoons at our desks after a high carb lunch. This is bad news for energy levels and managing blood sugar levels, and even worse news for people with type 2 diabetes.

Dates have a lower Glycaemic Index than normal sugar. Studies have shown that eating dates does not result in blood sugar spikes like eating sugar does. They’re therefore better for managing blood sugar levels and are beneficial sugar replacers for both non-diabetics and type 2 diabetics alike.

Aside from being fabulous sweet treats, dates are also packed with fibre. We need fibre to keep our bowels regular and healthy and eating a couple of dates a day helps keep our fibre intake topped up. We Brits are notoriously bad at eating enough fibre so dates can be a tasty, fibrous addition to our diet.

There’s also plenty of vitamins and minerals in dates. Date paste, since it’s just minced up dates, still contains all the same nutrients and has all the same benefits.


MAKING DATE PASTE YOUR GO-TO, NATURAL SWEETENER

So next time you’re looking for a sweet snack, or something to sweeten your baking, smoothies or homemade sauces, chutneys and spreads, make sure you look out for date paste.

Easier to use than whole dates if you’re adding them to a recipe, date paste is the perfect, most versatile ingredient. Ditch the unhealthy sugar and switch to a more natural alternative, packed with health benefits.

How will you use yours?

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Soil Association
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