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How to finely chop dates

How to finely chop dates

The hardest part about eating healthy is how time-consuming it can be. There are a lot of ingredients that you need to chop up and prepare for the day, which means there’s a lot of chopping involved.

Luckily, there is an easy way to save a little time in the kitchen: using your food processor!

Learn how to quickly and easily make chopped dates with this quick tutorial.

Dates are a common ingredient in many desserts and can be difficult to cut if they are too hard.

How to finely chop dates

How to Chop Dates with A Food Processor?

How to finely chop dates

Last update on April 7, 2022 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For Short Time Readers

How to Chop Dates with A Food Processor?

The best way to chop dates with a food processor is using a high-pitched blade.

This will make the date easier for you to cut, and it should help your food processor stay in good shape.

Make sure that all of the ingredients are clean before starting this process!

Step one:

Add about three cups of water to your container and set aside. Take each date so it’s sitting on its flat side (so you can see where they’re sliced).

Slowly turn them around while cutting off opposite sides until there are only two halves left.

Then turn those two pieces around again and cut down their center from top to bottom into four sections or wedges per section depending on how thick they are.

Next, place these slices into the container with three cups of water and let them soak for about ten to fifteen minutes.

How to finely chop dates

How to Chop Dates in A Food Processor?

How to finely chop dates

Last update on April 7, 2022 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Step two:

Take those slices out of the water, pat dry each one on a towel or paper towels so that they’re nice and dry going into your food processor.

Once all dates are dried, add these pieces in batches to your food processor’s bowl while waiting until you put enough through before adding more because this could take some time depending on how many you need to process at once.

Use the high-pitched blade attachment (as mentioned earlier) when processing as it will make cutting up your date easier!

You’ll know if there is too much moisture left by looking at what’s coming out from underneath blades; if it’s too wet, stop and let them sit for a while longer before trying again.

Step three:

When all dates are chopped up to your liking, take out the blade attachment and follow with adding in cinnamon or sprinkles of salt if you so desire (these two ingredients will give it more flavor).

How to finely chop dates

Chopping dried dates is a sticky, time consuming, delicate job. It requires a sharp knife, a special technique, and time.

Pre-chopped dates are terrible — dry, woody, gross. Convenience versions of foods which were once revered have made eating a sad affair. Do not participate in the perpetuation of the abomination of food and eating.

Make a space, make the time, and do it right.

I like to listen to music or audio books while I do my prep, though I’ve also sometimes performed such tasks in silence, finding at last an opportunity to hear myself think, and to let those thoughts stroll into places they’ve never been.

Always chop your own dates.

Method

Presumably, you will be adding the dates to a batter for a cake or squares. It will be important that the chopped pieces to not stick together. This will be your biggest problem.

As soon as you cut open a dried date, the sticky inside will gum up your knife and everything else including itself. But I offer a solution.

Before you start, have a small bowl of flour nearby, and have a scant sprinkling of flour on the cutting board.

Use your sharpest paring knife to slice open the date using only the tip of the knife. Pull out the pit, and immediately dust the sticky parts of the date in a bit of flour. Lightly only: as little as you can manage while still covering the sticky bits.

Using just the tip of your knife, slice the dates into strips, stopping to dust the sticky edges as often as you must. This will slow you down. It will be worth it.

Slice the strips into dice, one strip at a time to start, dusting as you go. Once you have the hang of it, try two strips at once. Three at once is my maximum.

After half a dozen dates, you will want to wash your knife. Use hot hot water, and dry it thoroughly. Start again.

Proceed in this manner until your work is done. You will be sorry to see the last one be chopped because you will have enjoyed the task so much.

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3 thoughts on “ Never buy chopped dates ”

I was thinking I could use this to cut candied ginger since I don’t eat dried fruit, but Peter says I should ask you about your citron cutting technique.

Never buy chopped candied citron. Never chop your own candied citron. Never eat candied citron. Candied citron is the reason people think they hate fruitcake. I hate candied citron.

Though, recently when I was in Vienna I saw an entire half candied citron, and for a moment wondered if I maybe I’ve only ever had bad citron, and should buy this one and try it. I didn’t.

old hint from the late Sarah Richardson [as related by her son oddly enough] : if you put the dates into the freezer for a short while, they will slice better … hope this helps for your next date with dates!

If you have a pair of strong kitchen scissors you could use those instead or you could just put the dates in a sieve and run some cold water through them which should make them less sticky.

Actually, thinking about the way some of the threads in here have developed recently I think I can see the opportunity for a " wind-up " emerging. I’m sure some of the more innovative posters could think of creative and daring ways to make a very tedious job more enjoyable.

Let’s wait and see what happens.

thks everyone for helping – I will try the knife dipped in hot water. .

Heres the recipe
Digby Law’s PEACH CHUTNEY
This is probly the best chutney ever. The longer it is kept the better as the cayenne pepper mellows and makes the chutney superb.

1kg stoned and peeled ripe peaches
3. 5 cups malt vinegar
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
100g preserved ginger, finely chopped
500g dates finely chopped
500g raisins
1kg brown sugar
2 tsps cayenne pepper
2 TBSP salt
Chop peaches fairly finely and boil them in the vinegar with the garlic until the peaches are soft. add the remaining ingreidients and boil for 30mins, stirring ocassionally.
Spoon into hot, clean jars and seal
Makes about 3 litres.

I can attest to Digby Law’s claim that this is the best chutney ever. . coz it flippen well is. try it once and you will be converted.

Question for cooks … chopping/grinding sticky stuff

Question for cooks … chopping/grinding sticky stuff

Post by simonm » Tuesday 20 October 2015, 10:26 am

We have recently become rather partial to “fruit balls”. These are commercial sweets made of ground up fruit and nuts, principally dates, apricots and figs along with some nuts and maybe a spice or two. Our simple “blender” can’t manage it. Chopping with a knife is tedious and doesn’t make the stuff small enough. Chopped dates (all we have tried so far) stick to everything.

What would you use to chop up this kind of dried fruit and nuts such as almonds, walnuts, dried coconut?

I have been thinking about a heavier food processor, an old fashioned hand powered mincing machine, or some sort of coffee grinder. It has to be something that doesn’t get totally gummed up when tackling sticky stuff and cleaning up afterwards should not take forever.

Motivation is that the commercial stuff costs about x4 the already pricey (organic, fair trade etc etc … ) ingredients. I guess they are just pimped up versions or traditional middle eastern sweets with the added advantage that the are, shock, horror, vegan. Though given that some companies put gelatin into orange juice to make it thicker, maybe the label has some value beyond fashion.

Re: Question for cooks … chopping/grinding sticky stuff

Post by doug » Tuesday 20 October 2015, 10:55 am

Re: Question for cooks … chopping/grinding sticky stuff

Post by Marshall Dixon » Tuesday 20 October 2015, 15:11 pm

simonm wrote: We have recently become rather partial to “fruit balls”. These are commercial sweets made of ground up fruit and nuts, principally dates, apricots and figs along with some nuts and maybe a spice or two. Our simple “blender” can’t manage it. Chopping with a knife is tedious and doesn’t make the stuff small enough. Chopped dates (all we have tried so far) stick to everything.

What would you use to chop up this kind of dried fruit and nuts such as almonds, walnuts, dried coconut?

Flip through this guide to learn how to slice, chop and mince, then watch our how-to video.

Related To:

There are a lot of ways to slice. Make prep time easy by learning to make rounds, cut half-moons and slice on the bias.

Slicing Rounds
Rounds are coin-shaped pieces sliced from something cylindrical, like a zucchini or a carrot.

Learning to Slice
To make rounds, steady what you’re cutting and make sure your fingers are tucked under.

Determining Thickness
Rest the knife against your knuckles, walk your fingers back and slice with a continuous motion. The thickness is determined by how far back you move your fingers between slices.

Half-Moons
To make half-moons, slice in half lengthwise.

Cutting Half-Moons
Lay the flat side down and slice across. That’s all there is to it!

Slicing on the Bias
A bias cut simply means cutting on the diagonal. Hold your food at a slight angle to the knife and slice. Bias cuts are often used in Asian stir-fry.

Chopping
When a recipe calls for something to be chopped, it means roughly the same size, but it’s not important to be precise.

Slice Into Strips
First, slice the pepper into strips.

Slice Across
Then, turn the strips 90 degrees and slice across the strips again. Done!

Mincing
Mincing is taking something that is roughly chopped and then chopping it finely.

Move the Knife
Put one hand flat on top of the knife while moving the knife over the chopped pile.

Gather the Pile
Occasionally, use the heel of the knife to gather the pile back together. This will work for a recipe that calls for finely chopped or minced ingredients.

How to finely chop dates

Because they are sticky and very high in sugar, it’s best to wait until your baby is 18 months or older before introducing dates and processed bars and snacks that contain them. Even after 18 months of age, dates should be carefully prepared to minimize the risk of choking and served as a treat rather than an everyday snack.

Background and origins of dates

A super sweet fruit that’s native to the Middle East, dates are sold fresh on the stem from their palm tree when in season, while others are available year-round in their dried, pitted, and packaged form. Medjool is the most common variety of dried date in American grocery stores, while markets that specialize in Middle Eastern products often have a more diverse selection.

Dates are increasingly available for purchase in a variety of processed forms—date sugar, date syrup, date paste, date bars, and the list goes on. The reason? Dates are marketed as a “healthy” sugar, and food makers are using processed date sugar products to replace traditional white sugar products made from cane plants.

How to finely chop dates

Ingredients

  • Almonds or cashews
  • Pitted dried dates
  • Nut or seed butter (we like sunflower seed butter!)
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
  • Tahini (optional)

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine 1 cup of almonds or cashews, 1/2 cup of pitted dates, 1/4 cup of the nut or seed butter of your choice, and 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon and vanilla extract. Add 1 tablespoon of tahini if you like.
  2. Pulse until the mixture is completely ground and resembles a fine, wet sand with no large chunks of date or nut. If the mixture turns into a ball in the food processor, use a spoon to break it apart and ensure there are no chunks remaining.
  3. Scoop out some of the mixture with your hands or a spoon, and form into little balls, around 1- to 2-inches in diameter. Refrigerate the balls until firm. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for one week, or in the freezer for up to one month.

*Note: This recipe contains potential allergens: nuts and tahini (sesame). Only serve after each allergen has been safely introduced and an allergy ruled out. If your child is allergic to tahini, skip it and add a bit more nut or seed butter. If your child is allergic to nut or seed butter, skip it and add a bit more tahini.

Flavor Pairings

Dates are remarkably versatile and can be used as a sugar replacement in almost any recipe. They pair particularly well with banana, coconut, sesame, and tree nuts such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts. In savory foods, try pairing dates with ginger, fennel, quinoa, and shallots. They also go well with herbs like mint parsley and bitter greens like arugula and watercress.

How to finely chop dates

Make this herby pasta with pine nuts and parmesan

TODAY Table is sponsored by Walmart. Our editors independently created this recipe. If you purchase the ingredients through our links, we earn a commission. Learn more about Shop TODAY.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried rigatoni
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 3 cups picked fresh soft-herbs (such as basil, mint, dill, parsley, or chives)
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 8 large medjool dates, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup finely grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts, finely chopped

Fulfilled by

Chef notes

This recipe is a fun change of pace to traditional pasta recipes. It is the perfect combination of herby, nutty, sweet and salty and it is sure to be on rotation in your household. I love that the sauce comes together in a food processor and the addition of dates creates a really fun contrast in every bite.

Technique tip: While blending the sauce, use a tamp to make sure the greens are moving and blending at a proper rate. Always use pasta water in any pasta you are cooking, it is the glue that marries the pasta and the sauce and is the difference between a saucy, coated pasta and a pasta where the sauce runs right off. Sauce can be made up to 1 day in advance.

Swap option: Pine nuts can be swapped for walnuts or almonds, spinach can be swapped for blanched kale, rigatoni can be swapped for any other pasta of your choice. Preferably a noodle with a hole that can hold all that saucy goodness.

Special equipment: High-speed blender or food processor.

Preparation

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Heavily salt the water and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking water for later.

Add dates to a bowl with warm water and soak for 10 minutes to plump before slicing.

In a food processor, combine spinach, fresh herbs, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and pulse to combine. Add olive oil and blend until smooth and saucy. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Add the rigatoni and sauce into a large bowl and toss to combine, adding 1/2 cup of pasta water at a time, stirring in between, to allow the sauce to stick to the pasta. You may have water left, that is okay. Once the pasta is thoroughly coated in sauce, add in 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and 1/2 of the chopped dates. Toss to combine.

Divide into plates, top with pine nuts, remaining and parmesan and dates and enjoy.

How to finely chop dates

Date Filling: Place the pitted dates and water in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the dates are soft and have absorbed most of the water (about 5 – 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature and then puree in your food processor until fairly smooth (a few lumps are fine).

Next, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or spray with a non stick cooking spray) a 9 inch (23 cm) square baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

Oatmeal Crust: In the bowl of your food processor, place the oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Pulse to combine. Then add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly and just begins to come together. Press about two-thirds (450 grams) of the mixture onto the base of the prepared pan.

Spread the date puree evenly over the oatmeal crust. Sprinkle the remaining batter evenly over the top of the dates. Then press down gently to compact. Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool. Once the squares have cooled, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator at least one hour or until firm enough to easily cut into squares.

These will keep, covered, in the refrigerator up to a week.

Makes about 20 – 2 inch (5 cm) squares.

Description:

Date Squares are also called Date Slices or even Matrimonial Bars. They consist of two buttery layers of an oatmeal shortbread crust that are sandwiched together with pureed dried dates scented with vanilla. Growing up, Date Squares were a regular part of my mother’s baking. Yet once I got married I somehow forgot all about them. It wasn’t until I was browsing through Rose Carrarini’s inspiring book "Breakfast Lunch Tea" that I discovered this delicious square once again. I just love their wonderfully sweet yet earthy flavor. Absolutely perfect with a hot cup of tea.

As their name implies, the main component of Date Squares is dates. Dates are the fruit of the palm tree, that grow in large bunches, with each date measuring up to 2 inches (5 cm) in length. They have a high sugar content and are also a good source of protein plus Vitamins A & B. For this recipe we are using dried pitted dates and I usually buy the ones that are packed in plastic containers. You can often find them in the produce section of your grocery store.

To make the date filling, the dates are first cooked in water to soften their tough outer skin. We then add a little vanilla extract (could also add a little orange or lemon zest) and let them cool before pureeing in a food processor or blender until fairly smooth (a few lumps are okay). After that is done, we need to make the oatmeal crust which, again, is easily done in the food processor. This is really an oatmeal "shortbread" crust. It has a fairly high butter content and there is no egg. For this recipe I like to use old-fashioned rolled oats rather than quick-cooking as I prefer their thicker texture and flavor. Also, make sure that your butter is cold and cut it into small cubes. Pulse the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture just begins to come together. Then the layering of the ingredients begins. First, two thirds of the oatmeal crust is pressed onto the bottom of our pan. The date puree is then spread over the crust and then the rest of the dough is crumbled over the dates. Gently press down to compact the top crust. The squares are baked until golden brown. The longer they bake the more crisp and chewy they will become. To make it easier to cut these squares, it is best to chill them first. Date Squares will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.

How to finely chop dates

This fresh, crunchy dish walks the line between lettuce cup dinner and big salad. Jarred red curry paste is the star of the show, lending the ground chicken mixture all the complexity of aromatics like lemongrass, garlic, coriander root, and shallot without a whole lot of chopping.

All products featured on Bon Appétit are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through the retail links below, we earn an affiliate commission.

What you’ll need

How to finely chop dates

Rimmed Baking Sheet

$20 At Bon Appétit Market

How to finely chop dates

How to finely chop dates

How to finely chop dates

Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls

Ingredients

Preparation

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until slightly darkened and fragrant, 8–10 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop.

Step 2

Place dates in a small bowl and pour in ½ cup hot water to cover; set aside.

Step 3

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Arrange chicken in skillet in an even layer and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown underneath, about 5 minutes. Add white parts of scallions, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt and cook, stirring constantly and breaking chicken apart with a wooden spoon, until combined and chicken is no longer pink, about 1 minute. Add curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, until chicken is evenly coated, about 1 minute. Add reserved dates and soaking water and cook, stirring often, until liquid is evaporated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in almonds and dark green parts of scallions. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

Step 4

To serve, arrange endive on a large platter. Spoon chicken mixture over and top with mint.

How would you rate Spiced Chicken and Dates With Endive?

My 11yo son is obsessed with all things endive, so I pretty much make any recipe I see with it. This was very simple and flavorful, but I will caution to check the heat of the curry paste, as the recipe suggests. We all like spicy food in my house and the curry out of the jar seemed fine, so I used the full amount of that and the red pepper flakes. By the time it was served, it was pretty spicy – so much so that my son was really struggling. He loved it but it was a bit too much for him. The sweet and spicy punch was perfect for my husband and I though. Will definitely make again, but with care about how much curry paste!

Classic BA fusion dish! The curry-spiced chicken worked well with the dates. I also cooked up some sticky rice to temper the spice heat and add a bit of bulk. I used the endive leaves to scoop and eat the mix. For slight modifications, I used torn basil leaves rather than mint and slivered almonds. Note that every Thai curry paste is a bit different. Add the paste, pepper flakes, and salt to taste. As a small matter, I found the phrase 'arrange the chicken' somewhat strange for ground meat (as opposed to chicken pieces). Spread, right?

This recipe is so quick and so delicious. I am making it again tonight for dinner. only adding more endive and a little more heat.

Delicious. I added chili crunch for more spice.

This is our new favorite recipe. Sweet and savory, fast and easy to make, and the endives make it fun to eat! Made it twice in one week.. anticipate making it on the regular going forward!

Delicious combination of flavours and very quick.

Loved this and the flavors. One of the best recipes I’ve made in a long time

So flavorful and delicious! Wasn’t able to find endive at the store so swapped for butter lettuce. They were a bit flimsy and messy but oh so good, lettuce cups!