Dates are an ancient food that has been revered for millennia in the Middle East. These succulent fruits sustained the legendary caravans of desert traders, traveling far distances under star filled nights. Dates are so woven into the fabric of early history, they undoubtedly touched the lips of our most infamous Arabian heroes. The consumption of dates can be traced back to the Mesopotamia era, to the legendary lands of Sumer and the Akkadian, as well as the Babylonian and Assyrian empires. These nutritious delicacies nourished the very cradle of civilization and are still beloved in what is now modern Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.
There is a good reason why one of nature’s most abundant fruits has historically been so embraced. The date fruit contains such essential minerals as calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium. The fruit is also very rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, plus it has adequate levels of B-complex group of vitamins as well as vitamin K.
Traditionally eaten out-of-hand, dates can also be chopped and used in a range of sweet and savory dishes, including puddings, cookies and other desserts. They are also delightful pitted and stuffed with fillings such as almonds, walnuts, candied orange and lemon peel or tahini. So how do we in the West incorporate them in our everyday lives? Dates are a delicious companion to your morning oatmeal, their sweet robust flavor and rich velvety texture melts into the warm oatmeal so that no extra sugar needs to be added. A smoothie can also be a perfect host to the date, this hearty fruit helps to add yet more flavor and thickness to any jam-packed nutritious drink. Dates in cakes, breads and cookies are equally as alluring. My personal favorite, however, is the Chocolate Date Truffle Treat. The date’s thick and creamy texture bonds superbly to the cacao and maca root, some of my favorite super foods, making a decadent raw chocolate truffle that is worthy of true adoration.
A word of caution: the date is way high up on the glycemic index chart, higher than any other sugar, so moderation is essential.
Chocolate Date Truffle
Eight pitted dates
2 tsp of raw organic cacao
1 pinch of Vanilla powder
1 pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp of Maca powder
(or spirulina, goji berries, nuts)
Mixing bowl or mortar and pestle
Add all ingredients in bowl except 1 tsp of cacao.
Grind and mix until blended and a think sticky past begins to form.
Pick up a small chunk and roll it in the palm of your hand until it forms an inch size perfect ball.
Take the 1tsp of cacao and place it in a flat dish.
Roll the date mix in the cacao covering the balls entirely with it.
You can refrigerate them for a firmer texture and to store.
You can wrap them for gifts.
Or you can keep them all to yourself ;p