There are a lot of sweeteners on the market today. From stevia, to maple syrup, to agave, you have countless ways to sweeten your drinks or treats. Date syrup is another fantastic completely natural option. It has a rich history, complex flavor notes, and a plethora of health benefits. Keep reading to learn more about how date syrup is made, what makes it so special, and even a little information about why it’s a better choice than maple syrup.
What is a Date Syrup?
Date syrup is made by heating the fruit in water, blending and straining the mixture, then reheating it to draw the remaining water out. The final product almost looks like molasses. It’s dark, thicker than maple syrup but not as thin as honey, and tastes sweet without being too sugary. There’s a hint of bitterness to it, but not enough to make the syrup taste unpleasant. Think of molasses with a bit more sugar and not as goopy.
The history behind dates and their syrup is just as wonderful as the sweetener. People have been eating dates for 6,000 years, specifically in the Middle East and North Africa. Not only does the fruit date back (pun not intended) thousands of years, it’s also important for several religions. In the Old Testament, Israel is referred to as the “land of milk and honey.” However, scholars believe the ‘honey’ the book refers to is not bee honey but actually date honey (or date syrup).
Dates are also important in Islam since the prophet Mohammad said they were fruit from paradise. Every night of Ramadan, Muslims around the world break their fast with a date. It is a must-have for any iftar (breakfast).
Date syrup contains potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, all in higher levels than its cousins’ maple syrup and honey. Because it comes from a fruit and is minimally processed, it contains fiber, which helps with blood sugar levels. The glycemic index of sweeteners can be a cause for concern for those with diabetes, but lucky for them, date syrup has a lower GI than other natural sweeteners. Vitamins A, B, C, and D are also present in the treacly substance.
Not only is date syrup nutritious and delicious, but it could also contain potentially life-saving properties.
Some potential antibacterial properties in sweeteners could help bacterial infections like Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Research student Hajeb Taleb from the Cardiff Metropolitan University identified that the fruit syrup contains phenol compounds. These compounds are high in antioxidants and have antibacterial activity. When Taleb mixed date syrup with various disease-causing bacteria in petri dishes, he found the substance stopped bacteria growing in six hours.
“While this work is currently in vitro, it suggests that date syrup could exhibit health benefits through its antibacterial activities, similar, or in some cases, better than honey,” said Taleb’s supervisor and food technology expert Ara Kanekaniana in a press release.
A Bit About Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is delicious, but it can also be expensive, and surprisingly, not very fuel-efficient. The Ministry of Agriculture in Ontario, Canada has said that 1 gallon of maple syrup requires 2.7 to 3.4 gallons of fuel. This is because of how much water needs to be taken out of the syrup before it becomes palatable. The amount machines required to make this process efficient also uses a lot of fuel. However, there are more energy-efficient options out there for maple syrup production.
In contrast, you can make delicious date syrup at home on your stovetop. It should take no more than 2 hours of gently simmering on a standard burner to reduce the date mixture. There’s no denying that maple syrup and date syrup don’t taste anything alike but, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly all-natural sweetener for your coffee, pancakes, or favorite recipe, it’s worth giving date syrup a try.
Check out these delicious date syrup and sauce recipes!
Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer, and has many side effects.
For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster App which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some resources to get you started:
For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Lastly, being publicly funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!