Date paste is a wonderful whole food plant-based (WFPB) sweetener. It can be used in place of refined sugars in many types of recipes such as baked goods, dressings, sauces, etc. This basic date paste is a nice, thick, smooth, and sweet fruit paste that can be used in various recipes. It could even be used as a spread for whole grain toast!
I steered away from Medjool dates for quite some time early on in my plant-based journey because pitting dates sounded daunting to me & I couldn't ever find any that were already pitted! Despite this, I kept reading about them and hearing people recommend them. One day, I finally decided to figure out what all of the fuss was about...& I bought some.
To my surprise, they are actually very easy to pit. It's really no big deal at all! They're also larger and more sweet and soft than other dates I've used. They're perfect in many recipes & for making a nice smooth basic date paste. I prefer Medjool dates over any other type of date now. I'm so glad I finally tried them out!
Pitting Medjool dates
When it comes to pitting Medjool dates, you'll see that some of the dates have a dried flower part on the end. These should be removed along with the pits inside because both would not blend well and would lead to unpleasant crunchy bits in your smooth sauce. The dried flower parts and the pits are very easily removed by hand. The pits are actually surprisingly loose within the middle of the date so there are no knives involved here. Using your fingers will do the trick lickety-split!
Counting all of the pits
When pitting dates, double-check that you've removed all of the pits by counting them and matching up the number of dates with the number of removed pits. This check-step is definitely worth it as it's no fun to find chunks of date pits in your recipe. Yes, been there done that!
Soaking the pitted dates
After pitting the dates, you'll be soaking them in boiling hot water. Pour enough hot water over the dates to fully submerge them. In my 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup, about 1 ½ cups of boiling hot water covered the 16 pitted dates (about 1 packed cup) nicely.
Allow the dates to soak and soften for at least 30-45 minutes. The longer they soak, the softer they'll get, which will make it easier for the paste to become smooth in the blending process.
Getting ready to blend
Next, you'll be getting ready to blend. I like to move the dates to the blender using tongs but using a fork or other utensil can work well too. Be sure to reserve the soaking liquid as you do this. Then, add about ¼ cup of the date soaking liquid to the blender along with the dates. Add a bit more soaking water if needed to help with blending or to make a thinner paste. No worries, if you forget to reserve the soaking water, though...just use plain water, instead.
Blending the date paste
The next step is blending the date paste. You'll blend the dates and ¼ cup date soaking water until it becomes nice and smooth. With a high-speed blender, begin at low speed at first and gradually increase the blending speed to high. The tamper comes in handy here when using a Vitamix. Blend until the paste becomes nice and smooth.
Store in a sealed container
You'll be able to store your date paste in a sealed container in the refrigerator for at least a week. OR, another option is to store it in the freezer. A handy thing about date paste is that it doesn't freeze solid. From the container in the freezer, you can scoop out the amount you need and place the rest back into the freezer. Date paste can last in the freezer for several months.
Basic Date Paste Recipe
- high-speed blender
- 16 medjool dates* about 1 packed cup when pitted
- 1 ½ cup boiling hot water reserve ¼ cup or more for blending
Prepare the dates
- Begin by removing the pits (& any bits of dried flower parts on the ends) of the dates. This sounds tedious but it's actually a very quick and easy task.
- Count and match the number of pits to the number of dates you're using to be sure all pits have been removed and discarded.
Soak the dates
- Place the pitted dates (about one tightly packed cup total) into a bowl and pour boiling hot water over the top to fully submerge the dates.
- Allow the dates to soften in the hot water for 30-45 minutes.
Blend the dates and some of the soaking water
- While reserving the soaking water for later, remove the softened dates from the soaking water and place them in a high-speed blender. Add about ¼ cup of the reserved soaking water to the blender (or a bit more if needed to help with blending or to make a thinner paste), then blend by slowly increasing the speed up to high (if using a Vitamix, a tamper is helpful here). Blend well until nice and smooth.
Storing the date paste
- The date paste can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for at least a week. Or, it can be kept in the freezer for several months as it will not freeze solid. You can scoop out smaller portions of date paste from its frozen state as needed.