Dates are rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants and the essential minerals potassium and magnesium. A diet that regularly includes low-fat, nutrient-dense foods like dates may enhance your health and help decrease your chance of developing many chronic diseases.

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Fresh dates can be wrinkled, but they shouldn't feel hard. Look for fresh dates that are plump looking and have a slightly glossy look to their skin. Avoid dates that have crystallized sugar on their skins (a little whiteness is okay, but not actual crystals), since that means they are not quite as fresh as you might like.

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Dates are delicious when eaten fresh or added to muffins, cookies, and salads. Dip them in chocolate or roll them in coconut for a classic dessert. Use them for hor d'oeuvres by spreading cream cheese or peanut butter.

Prep it

Put the dates into a resealable plastic bag. Store the dates in the bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for five to six months.
Remove the dates from the refrigerator or freezer to a counter one hour before preparation to come to room temperature and make cutting them easier.
Cut a slit down the length of the thawed date and pull the pit out with your fingers before eating, stuffing or chopping the dates.

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Laura McIntosh