This past weekend I spent 2 and half days in the San Bernardino Mountains. The weather was spectacular! I packed up my kit bag and trekked up the mountain ready to share some news about dates, graciously given to me by Hadley’s Inc. Why Hadley’s you ask?
Well, CampBlogaway was a food bloggers conference. If you go to a food blogging conference you know you should be prepared to talk about food. Well, since I talk about mostly food production and farming in the food section, it was only fitting I should take along the world’s premiere date grower. Who better to represent Southern California and the Coachella Vally? Hadley’s was my go to company.
Hadley’s Inc. has been growing dates int he Coachella Valley since 1931. They have a superior product and can be purchased in grocery stores nationwide. But the real story is in the date itself. Dates – the Deglet Noor – is the biggest little fruit out there! It is packed with Potassium, Zinc and other great minerals. It had little to no fat, has 2 grams of protein per serving and 75 grams of sugar. A date has soluble and insoluble fiber. The combination of both allows those sugars to slowly burn off over time sustaining energy levels for work-outs and fitness times.
I like dates because they are so portable! You can grab a handful and carry them with you for an energy boost anytime, anywhere.
Dates are also a great snack item. I love that I can do something so simple as remove the pit, if it hasn’t been already removed, sand replace it with any variety of fillings. Fillings such as cream cheese, walnuts, chopped pecans or even a fig slice and some goat cheese. When you begin to explore the available options of cooking with dates you’ll really begin to see what a versatile fruit they are.In fact one of the most famous chefs in the world uses Hadley’s dates in his restaurants. Chef Thomas Keller has been purchasing dates from Hadley’s for about 6 years now and uses them in both restaurants – The French Laundry and Per Se – not only as a dessert item, but also as a savory. That’s right, a savory. This article in the Wall Street Journal online lists several great recipes using dates.
For our camp experience Hadley’s sent along their Walnut Stuffed Deglet Noor Dates – their “Nugglet”. It was enjoyed by many and Hadley’s will be glad to know they were eaten and enjoyed all weekend. Then for Saturday’s luncheon I set out the chocolate dipped nugglet Hadley’s developed for the restaurant industry.
While everyone loved their taste and indulgence, one camper asked if she could make these at home. Of, course! Simply pit the date, replace the pit with chopped walnuts and dip them in tempered chocolate. She then said wouldn’t it be fun to toast the walnuts with a bit of cayenne pepper and then dip them in chocolate. This got a discussion going about all the possibilities. I can hardly wait to see what everyone tries. For inspiration, the California Date Associationhas several recipes online to use. They also hold a chef’s competition every April. This always results in some very creative ways to use dates. Check them out!
Thank you Hadley’s for the great dates! They really added to our weekend!