What They Are
Dates are the sweet, chewy fruit of the date palm tree. Typically sold dried, they come in a number of varieties, such as Medjool and Deglet Noor.
Buying and Storing
Dried dates are sold loose and in packages. Look for soft, plump dates and avoid those with sugar crystals on the skin, which indicate they are past their prime. Store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months, or refrigerate for up to 1 year.
How to Use Them
Delicious on their own, dates can also be enjoyed in a range of appetizers, main courses, and desserts. Use them to add a honeylike flavor to chicken or chutney, or stir them into granola or cake and muffin batters.
Stuff pitted dates with pieces of Parmesan or toasted almonds. Wrap them in prosciutto, or dip them in melted chocolate. For a great milkshake, blend pitted and chopped dates with yogurt or ice cream.