Dates are one of the earliest recorded fruits. As far back as 4000BC, this fruit has been recorded in history books. Date is a desert plant, it thrives well in hot and dry conditions.
Since dates thrive very well in dry climates, they are considered to be rare, and usually expensive in some parts of the world. So, it is only natural that if you come across them, you might want to purchase them in bulk before it goes out of stock again.
Dates have a very long shelf life and will keep for a while in airtight containers. But, if you would love to keep them for longer than that, how do you preserve them?
Can you freeze dates? Yes, you can. Dates handle very well in the freezer because about 60 to 70% of their composition is Sugar and sugar is very freezer friendly. Dates can be frozen for about 5 years. But for the best quality, you should eat them within the space of one year.
Most people believe that freezing dates helps to give them a softer texture and even makes them creamy in some cases. So, it shouldn’t be all about preservation only. If you like experiments, you can try that out for a new experience. Freeze dates just for the mere purpose of making them softer.
How to Freeze Dates
Freezing dates can be super easy. Most dates are usually dried so you do not need any form of preparation before you freeze them. However, you can freeze dates in some other forms to help increase freezer space. If you have large amounts of dates to freeze, freezing into a paste might work best.
Freezing Dried Dates
This is too easy, child play indeed. Rinse the dates under cool running water to wash away the dust and debris. Then, leave them to air dry. After the dates are dry, pack them into Ziploc freezer bags or freezer-friendly containers and freeze.
You may decide to remove the seeds of the dates before freezing. This helps you to get rid of the stress of doing that after thawing your dates.
Before you freeze, label the bags with the date of the freeze. Dates can be kept frozen for 5 years. Even if you notice ice crystals forming on them, they are still very good to eat.
Freezing Date Paste
Date paste can serve as a healthy substitute for sugar. It doesn’t last as long as dried dates do in the freezer and takes a lot of time investment. But it increases the number of ways in which you can use the dates. Dates paste can last for 2 months if properly stored in the freezer.
You can use date paste in anything that needs sweetening. Not only are they a very healthy sugar substitute, but they also have nutritional benefits that are great for your wellbeing.
Step 1: Crush Your Dates Into a Paste
The formula for making date paste is easy. Just add ¼ cup of water to 1 cup of tightly packed dates. You need to reduce the addition of water to the barest minimum. Once you have that measurement taken down, break the dates and remove the seed.
Get your food processor and use the scale of measurement above and puree the dates. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a high-speed blender to achieve the same results.
Step 2: Storage
You can store your date paste in different forms. You can freeze them into ice cubes or flatten the paste into Ziploc freezer bags.
For freezing them into ice cubes. Get an ice cube making tray and fill the cubes with the paste. Leave about an inch of space in the cubes for when the paste expands. Put the tray into the freezer till the cubes freeze solid then, transfer them into freezer bags.
Date paste can be frozen for a year for the best quality. If you would be using Ziploc freezer bags, put the paste into the bags and flatten it out to press out as much air as you can before you seal them. You can double bag the freezer bags so that your paste has no contact with cold air.
Step 3: Freezing
Before you put the freezer bags containing the flattened paste or cubes into the freezer to freeze. Label the bags with the date of the freeze so that when you lose track of them in the freezer, you wouldn’t forget how long you have kept them. When freezing the flattened paste, freeze each bag individually till it freezes solid before you stack them to conserve freezer space.
How to Defrost Frozen Dates
To thaw your frozen dates, you can put them in the microwave and heat them for 30 seconds. With date paste, you can break off a section you need and leave it to thaw in the refrigerator. With the cubes, you can thaw them in a bowl on the counter and add them to your batter or food.
How to Recognize Spoiled Dates
Fresh and soft dates tend to spoil faster than dried dates like the Deglet Noor. They can be stored for a month at room temperature and longer in airtight containers.
Dates do go bad. Even though it takes a long while before they do, they still go bad.
The first telltale signs of dates going bad is the change in color and formation of mold. If you notice that the color of the dates has turned darker, then it is time to dispose of them. Dates turn white over time, but this doesn’t mean they are bad. You can still eat them