How to store dates at home
Dates are the fruit of the date palm. The sweet delicacy from the East is not only delicious, but also very healthy, which has gained popularity in different parts of the country. That is why date palms now grow not only in tropical forests, but practically all over the world.
There are several types of dates - all varying in color and size. The most popular are the dark red fruits with an oblong shape. It is them that we see on the shelves of the store in dried form.
The benefits of dates
Dates will bring a lot of benefits if you include them in your diet. And this is even in spite of the large amount of sugars in their composition - an impressive part of them is accounted for by carbohydrates. That is why the caloric value of the fruit is high - 277 kcal per 100 grams, and it slightly increases during drying, like all dried fruits.
Nevertheless, nutritionists recommend them for consumption. The first reason is all the same caloric content - you can not eat very many dates, the feeling of satiety comes very quickly. It is not for nothing that they were nicknamed "bread of the desert" a long time ago. The second reason is the presence of nutrients, fiber, antioxidants. In them you can find such useful for the body calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and magnesium. In addition to all of the above, they contain B vitamins (and even in such quantities that 100 g covers 12% of the daily requirement), A and K.
Let's consider the useful properties in detail:
- Improved digestion. Few people know, but to confirm the benefits of dates for the digestive organs even conducted studies. A group of people consumed them for one month, and all observed an improvement in peristalsis. Their digestion normalized compared to the data that were obtained at the beginning of the study. By improving digestion, namely slowing it down, fiber helps normalize blood sugar levels - spikes are minimized due to the fact that dates have a low glycemic index.
- Reducing the risk of cancer. Unlike other dried fruits, dates have much more antioxidants. Carotenoids, flavonoids and phenolic acid are especially important. They protect body cells from free radicals that can cause various diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
- Improved brain function. Again, "date" antioxidants play a major role in protecting the brain from inflammation. They can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and dementia, improve memory and enhance concentration.
- Reduced risk of visual impairment. Visual impairment is often associated with vitamin A deficiency. Dates, on the other hand, are rich in vitamin A and carotenoids, which prevent eye disease and help maintain visual acuity.
- Prevent heart disease. Potassium helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke and other heart diseases. Dates boast a large amount of this element in their composition. They are also rich in various phytochemicals that also protect people from heart disease.
- Anemia Relief. Dates are a good source of iron, so they can help reduce the symptoms of anemia, characterized by chronic fatigue and dizziness. Also dates will be useful for future mothers, as during pregnancy they are very susceptible to the occurrence of this disease.
Contraindications for use
Dried and dried dates are very caloric and contain a lot of sugar, so this product should not be eaten in large quantities by people suffering from diabetes or obesity. It is necessary to observe moderation in consumption in order to get only benefits from the fruit. As studies have shown, it is enough to eat only 10 pieces. And 15% of the daily requirement of important minerals contained in dates (potassium, magnesium, iron and copper) can be covered by consuming about 4 dates a day.
How to Choose Dates
The main prerequisite for a long shelf life is choosing the right dates. The ideal fruit should be ripe and properly dried. Unfortunately, you can not always rely on the integrity of the manufacturer, so below is a list of what you should pay attention to when buying such a fruit:
- The color should be uniform, red or dark brown, with no spots. If the date is overflowing with all shades of brown - it means that this fruit was picked early.
- A ripe fresh date should have no cracks or damage on the surface, the consistency should be firm and without dents.
- The matte surface indicates that the date has not been treated in any way. Some producers (or sellers) treat the product with vegetable fat or syrup, thinking that the extra shine will entice the buyer.
- A sticky surface is also indicative of additional surface treatment. Or it could be the reason that the date has begun to sugary, which means it has been on the shelf for a long time.
- All dates, whether fresh, dried or pressed, should be of a firm consistency. If they are too hard or too soft, there was a violation of drying technology or the process of rotting.
- Do not take dates without pips. The more the product undergoes physical changes, which include the removal of the pit, the shorter its shelf life.
- The correct smell of dates is tart, sweet, without any notes of fermentation or rottenness.
- A cracked surface may indicate irregularities in the drying and curing processes. Non-compliance with production processes affects both shelf life and taste.
How to store fresh dates
Fresh dates can last a long time if you follow some rules:
- Storage in the refrigerator. An elementary rule that everyone knows about. Like all fruits, dates need a cool place to prevent the early onset of the rotting stage. The best place in the fridge for storage is the shelf under the freezer where it's coldest and the temperature won't rise above 2°C.
- Choosing the right container. It is best to choose a container made of plastic or wood or a glass jar. Do not use a plastic or cellophane bag as the fruit spoils faster because of the lack of air. A paper bag can also be a suitable container. It is breathable and will not "suffocate" the contents.
- Wash only before use. Washing dates before storing will wash away the oily layer that could preserve the freshness of the fruit. They should be washed just before they are consumed and preferably only the amount that is planned to be eaten.
Observing these simple conditions, you can keep the freshness of dates for up to 2 months. But if there was an unpleasant smell, it is better not to risk and throw away the fruit.
How to store dried or dried dates
Dried and dried dates are stored for a very long time. All thanks to the fact that in the process of drying the moisture evaporates from the fruit, which for the most part makes the environment favorable for the development of putrefactive bacteria. Despite this, it is worth improving the storage conditions for better preservation of the product:
- Store in a closed container. Closed packaging will save dates from contact with insects, which are the main carriers of bacteria and germs.
- No washing. Dates do not need to be washed unless they are scheduled to be eaten the same day. The fruit's natural protective layer will extend its shelf life. You should also not forget about a kind of help from the manufacturer - some of them before selling the fruit are treated with special solutions that slow down the spoilage process.
- Do not store in the refrigerator. Dried and dried products do not need cold storage conditions. It is better to keep them in a dry, dark place, which would protect them from sunlight and heat. The optimum temperature for them is no higher than 20°C. And high humidity, which is very common in refrigerators due to frequent temperature changes (constantly opening/closing the door), can reduce the shelf life.
- Store away from other foods. Every product likes its own conditions, so it is better to prepare a different container or jar for each.
In the right conditions, dried and dried dates can be stored for 1 year.
How to Store Pressed Dates
The shelf life of pressed dates does not differ from that of dried dates despite the fact that they have more moisture. All thanks to the pasteurization process they go through. High temperature steam treatment kills all undesirable microflora. An additional condition for increased storage is packaging - a vacuum bag. Thanks to this, pressed dates can last on the kitchen shelf for a year.
How to dry dates at home
At home, dates can be dried in two ways: in the oven or in a darkened place (for example, on the kitchen table). Everything is much easier if there is an electric dryer, but not everyone can boast of having one at home.
Drying dates in a darkened place makes them soft. A denser structure can be obtained by drying them in the sun. This method of drying, as you can understand, is not the fastest. But the long process time is not the worst disadvantage. Various insects and, through them, bacteria can attack the open date palm fruit. So air-dried dates should be rinsed well before consumption and not stored for a long time.
Much faster you can get dried fruit in the oven. Dry them at about 70 ° C (so you do not have to worry about bacteria - they die at this temperature). During one day with small intervals in time - it is necessary to alternate on/off the oven. Properly dried product will be able to last a long time on the shelf.
How to extend the shelf life of dates
The answer to this question is very simple - freeze them. This method of storage will preserve dates for a long time - up to 5 years. The only condition: do not freeze and do not defrost them several times. It is better to immediately distribute dates into bags in equal portions.
Another way to extend the shelf life is to process dates into another product. For example, into a date paste that you can spread on bread in the morning. You will get a hearty, tasty and healthy breakfast. Rarely do these three conditions "come together".
So, for the pasta you need:
- dates - 400 g;
- drinking water - 200 ml.
- Before preparing the paste, thoroughly rinse the dates under hot water (you can treat them with baking soda) and remove the pips from them.
- Dates cook in water until softened over low heat. The consistency of the paste can be adjusted by adding or removing water.
- At the end of cooking, distribute the finished paste in jars, which are tightly screwed, and leave to cool at room temperature. Such twists can be stored for the whole season on a par with homemade jam.
There are ways to prepare a healthy paste without cooking - dates are simply ground in a blender with various additives. But the finished product, prepared in this way, can be stored for a maximum of 14 days.
Interesting facts about dates
- On dried dates over time, a white stain may appear. Do not be alarmed, this is not a sign of spoilage and lack of freshness of the fruit. During storage, the sugar begins to "come out" on the surface, so the date is covered in places with a white sticky coating.
- The fruit can be used as a natural sweetener. To do this, just replace the sugar with date paste, for example, in baking.
- It is well known that men of the East greatly appreciate products (be it spices or fruits) that increase their libido. There is a myth that the travelers who were lost in the desert survived only because of this fruit.
- There is a myth that travelers lost in the desert, survived only because of dates - this caloric product gave them a lot of energy and nutrients, supporting them throughout the journey.
- Some believe that the tree of life from the Bible is the date palm and the berries of life are dates.
- One date, combined with a glass of milk, will help provide your body with all the nutrients it needs.
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