This week’s recipe is a super simple basic ingredient that you can use in a number of ways. I’m showing you how to make your own date syrup. This whole food plant-based (WFPB) sweetener can be used in baking, drizzled over oatmeal, pancakes or waffles. It can even be stirred into your morning coffee or tea as a replacement for refined white sugar. There are lots of exciting uses for this WFPB basic, so let’s get to it.
Why Date Syrup?
Typical sweeteners like sugar and corn syrup are highly refined and send our blood sugar levels on a bit of a ride. When we consume these sweeteners, they are absorbed quickly, this makes blood sugar levels rise rapidly. Your body wants to counteract this and keep your levels stable, so it releases insulin. This insulin allows the sugars to move out of the bloodstream and into the cells for storage. The problem is, when faced with a big spike in blood sugar, we tend to release more insulin than we really need. As a result, our blood sugar dips lower than our body typically likes. What happens when our blood sugar drops? We get a hunger signal, and we search out something to eat. So, in essence, those refined sweeteners have a tendency to make us consume extra calories.
How do we combat this huge swing in blood sugar? Fibre is the secret weapon. Some people will have you believe that fruit has too much sugar and should be avoided. While fruit is sweet and enticing, it’s also a healthy food group that you don’t need to avoid. That is for a few reasons, but one of the big ones is fibre. You see, while it contains natural sugar, fruit also contains fibre. This fibre actually slows the digestion and release of sugar to the bloodstream. As a result, the change in blood sugar is more of a slow rise and fall, rather than the sharp spike caused by refined sugars. This slow rise and fall is normal after a typical healthy meal, and something our body handles easily. So dates, with their natural fibre, make a great option for sweetening foods.
Why Make Your Own?
Date syrup is becoming more widely available at stores and markets. So why would you want to make your own? Well, the cost is one good reason. Date syrup tends to be significantly more expensive than dates, so making your own is a cost-effective option.
The other reason is fibre. Have you ever noticed that store-bought date syrup is slightly translucent? In fact, if you hold it up to the light, you can see through it, just like maple syrup. The reason for this is in the processing. In order to provide consumers with a product that looks pristine, they strain out the fibre. Without that fibre present, you end up on that blood sugar rollercoaster I described above.
The easy solution is to make your own date syrup. The beauty is it’s super simple to make, takes almost no time and is a budget-friendly option.
Making Date Syrup
To make date syrup, all you need is dates, water, lemon juice (optional) and a blender. The nice thing is, you don’t have to use fancy or expensive dates to make date syrup. Large medjool dates tend to be a lot more expensive than the smaller varieties. When you’re making date syrup, you can use whichever dates you like. Feel free to pick whichever variety is on sale and call it a day.
Add equal parts dates and water to your blender (1 cup of each), add a teaspoon of lemon juice (optional) and blend until smooth and creamy. If you have a high-speed blender, it will make short work of this mixture without any complaints.
If you like your date syrup a little thinner so you can drizzle it, just add a little more water until it reaches the consistency you’re looking for.
What if you don’t have a high-speed blender? Or what if your dates are a little dry instead of soft and gooey? No problem, I’ve got some tips for that.
- Add 1 cup of dates and 1 cup of water to your blender and allow them to soak for 10-20 minutes before blending.
- Use warm water instead of cold, this will help break down firmer dates so they blend up really easily.
Once you’ve reached your desired consistency, transfer to an air-tight container or mason jar and store in the fridge. It should keep for a month or so.
- 1 cup dates, pitted
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Add all ingredients to the blender. Blend on high for a 1 minute, or until dates are completely broken down into the syrup.
- Store in an airtight container or mason jar. Keep refrigerated. Will keep for a month or so.
If you want a thinner syrup that you can drizzle, add more water until you reach the desired consistency.
Well, there you have it. Super simple date syrup ready in just minutes. If you try this out, let me know how it went in the comments below.