Did you buy too many fresh or dried dates, and you can’t use them before they go bad? What are you supposed to do with them? Maybe you can freeze them, but will this actually work, and how long can they last?
Yes, you can freeze dates. Fresh whole dates can last up to a year in the freezer, while dried dates can last up to five years in the freezer. You can also make date paste and freeze it in sheets to use in recipes and smoothies.
This article explores how dates, usually grown in warm climates, can go to the next level and literally thrive for some time in below-freezing temperatures. Read on to learn about how dates are really a superfood.
Why Freezing Dates Is a Great Idea
If you’ve ever eaten a frozen date before, you might have noticed that it was surprisingly like an unfrozen date but slightly creamier. Dates might be one of the most complete superfoods that exist, but they are also a highly robust and versatile fruit.
Let’s take a look at a couple of reasons why dates are the perfect frozen fruit.
Dates Have a Long “Freezer-Life”
Dates can last a long time in the freezer, and if you have a large supply of dates and some room in your freezer, you can keep them on hand practically forever, really. Let’s discuss the freezer-life of dates in detail.
Fresh dates, with or without pits, organic or not, can be stored in the freezer and still retain their excellent taste and texture for up to about a year.
If you are looking to consume your dates within a year, you might consider storing your dates in the refrigerator rather than out at room temperature or the freezer, which allows the dates to remain tasty and nutritious for up to about six months.
Dried dates can keep in your freezer for up to about five years, so if you have a lot of them, you may want to store them in the freezer. This is actually probably more than enough time to find the perfect time to use your dates in one of your upcoming savory or nutritious meals.
When you have dried dates, you also have the option of keeping them in your refrigerator for up to a year, should you find this to be more convenient.
Frozen or Thawed Dates Taste Delicious
Believe it or not, you can’t ever really freeze a date into a completely rock-solid state.
This is because the composition of a date is 50%-70% sugar by weight. So even when it has been in the freezer for a week, it’s still soft enough that you can actually eat it straight out of the freezer.
If you somehow feel compelled to thaw your dates before eating them, though, then the best way to do this is as slowly as possible. You can pick out however many dates you’d like to thaw and place them into the refrigerator for a nice, slow transition that will allow the dates to taste their best.
Some people, nonetheless, argue that dates truly taste the best and most refreshing when they have been taken straight out of the freezer. There just might be nothing like a chilled date smoothie for a healthy snack.
Two Great Ways To Freeze Dates
You can either freeze dates whole or transform them into a pure paste. The main benefit of freezing your wonderful stash of dates is that you can store them in your freezer in a shape of your choosing, which is a very useful option to consider at some point down the road, perhaps.
Freezing Dates Whole
When freezing dates whole, make sure that they have no pits inside. Trying to eat a frozen date with a rock-solid pit is not an ideal eating experience. Once any pits have been removed, then place all of the dates into an airtight container or packaging, such as a freezer-safe plastic bag.
It might be helpful to label your containers with the date (pun intended) on which you are first freezing the dates. Enjoy your dates as healthy snacks or nutritious ingredients in your upcoming awesome recipes!
Freezing Dates as a Paste
In addition to freezing dates whole, you might find it more space-efficient to freeze dates as a paste.
Again, make sure that all of the dates have no pits inside. Then, place your dates in a bowl and fill the bowl with clean, filtered water so that the water just covers all of the dates and let it soak for at least an hour.
Once the dates have softened, you can make the paste by pureeing the dates in a food processor while incrementally adding about 1 tbsp (14.3 grams) at a time of the date-infused filtered water until you reach a nice, thick consistency of date paste.
Then, it’s time to freeze the date paste.
You can be creative and freeze your date paste into the general shape in which you’d like to store it. If space efficiency is your motivation for creating a paste in the first place, then you might want to freeze the paste into a number of thin sheets that will ultimately be easy to store in your freezer.
Health Benefits of Eating Dates
In addition to the abundance of antioxidants responsible for eliminating free radicals from our bodies and keeping our bodies primed to thrive, dates also feature an impressive host of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and amino acids, a.k.a., protein.
Dates Contain Many Vitamins and Minerals
Dates in just about every form, whether fresh, dried, pitted, or organic, contain a lot of important vitamins and minerals that you need to consume every day to function at your best.
Here are the main vitamins and minerals found in dates:
- Vitamin A
- B-Vitamins such as Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B9
- Vitamin C
Sometimes consuming vitamins and mineral supplements, but in the wrong relative proportions, can create an imbalance of nutrients in your body that might make your good intentions for nothing, or even worse.
Dates, on the other hand, are a whole food containing a natural balance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Dates Also Contan Fiber and Amino Acids
Eating just ¼ lb (0.11 kg) of dates will nourish your body with anywhere from 50%-100% of the daily recommended fiber intake.
Dates also contain what scientists call neutral ẞ-D-glucan, which is known for fighting and preventing different forms of cancer. The fiber found in dates even helps counter problems like diabetes and obesity.
But you’ll want to eat dates in moderation because most of the calories in dates come from a combination of sugars:
As a rule of thumb, the fresher and more moist the date, the less sugar it contains. So, dried dates have significantly more sugar than fresh dates.
Dates are also a superfood because it miraculously contains all 23 of the amino acids needed for an ideal metabolism. Most fruits and vegetables don’t have this highly advantageous benefit, so it’s a great reason to start eating dates more regularly.
All this makes a date, fresh or frozen, the perfect healthy snack!
The verdict is in!
Not only is it possible to freeze dates, but it might be a better idea to freeze your dates as opposed to leaving this relatively expensive fruit tasting hard, dry, and devoid of most of its naturally-occurring nutrients (which is what happens if you leave your dates at room temperature).
The next time you head for the supermarket, or the farmers’ market, you might consider adding the superfood dates to your stock of kitchen ingredients.
Keep them in the freezer and grab one or two anytime the mood strikes.