Where can I get soft, small dates for an appetizer?
May 24, 2023 7:54 AM   Subscribe

I recently attended a reception that featured a buffet table with appetizers, including dates stuffed with peanut butter. The stuffed dates were accompanied by a small bowl of strawberry jam, and you could spoon some of the jam on top of the date before you ate it. This appetizer was totally delicious, and I consumed like a dozen of them. I want to duplicate this item at home.

The dates were smallish, and they were very soft – almost buttery in their consistency. Where do I get such dates? I ordered these Medjool dates from Amazon, but they were about twice as big as I had hoped, and they had a slightly harder, chewier consistency. While they were OK, they were not nearly as good as the ones I ate at the function I attended.

Any tips on where I can source small, soft dates? I'm in the US. Thanks.
posted by alex1965 to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Middle eastern grocery store?
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:00 AM on May 24

I think what you want to look for are commonly called "pitted dates", like these from Target. My family made peanut butter dates for every holiday when I was a kid, and that's what we always used.
posted by okayokayigive at 8:04 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]

my Costco has good quality medjool dates. (they also recently stocked a Saudi product that I'd never seen before and was intrigued by because they were smaller and looked soft, but they weren't as good as medjool and I wouldn't buy them again.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:06 AM on May 24

Try Bautista, they’ll match you and a date. Maybe honey dates? https://bautistaorganicdates.com/
posted by xaryts at 8:20 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]

I ordered these “Ugglies” Medjool dates which were soft and omg, food of the gods! but they are large and with pits. Dates are easy to de-pit. Don’t know why they’re called ugly, they looked fine, and so good.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:39 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]

They were probably halawy dates. They don’t sound like medjools.
posted by amaire at 8:42 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]

If you liked this, try stuffing them with almond paste, or almond paste blended with a little rose or orange flower water, or almond paste and a bit of chocolate, or a whole walnut half and a bit of chocolate.
posted by HotToddy at 9:18 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]

Middle Eastern grocery stores and Indian grocery stores might well have them, sure. Also, if you live near an ambiguously pan-ethnic grocery whose name probably includes the phrase "Fresh Market," they probably have them too. Mid-sized cities and up tend to have groceries that simultaneously cater to Eastern Europeans, Greeks, Middle Eastern people, Indian & Pakistani people, Italian people, and Latinx people. They're great places to shop in general and the ones near me (and I'm in Greater Chicagoland, so there are like six close by) all have multiple options for dates.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:19 AM on May 24

If you end up with medjools, Trader Joe's are the best I have found. I only buy the ones with pits and pit them myself (easy), because the pitted ones always are dry and not as fresh. I reckon that would be true of any date.
posted by nanook at 9:35 AM on May 24

Was it perhaps a honey date or Barhi? I learned that I was missing out on tons of delicious dates from Gastropod's Your Mystery Date episode and they ordered dates through Shields Date Garden and Bateel. Shield Date Garden has small assortments, too, so you could try one of those to see if a particular date matches.
posted by carrioncomfort at 10:00 AM on May 24

Order a mix of dates from the chinadateranch dot com
their honey dates are sweet smooth without much fiber.
posted by hortense at 11:43 AM on May 24

Came in to say Shields Date Garden-- they are the best dates I've ever had. I think you had either halawi or barhi dates.
posted by blnkfrnk at 1:04 PM on May 24

Dates kept at room temperature are much softer and sweeter than refrigerated dates. I keep 1 - 2 days worth of dates on the countertop.
posted by third word on a random page at 2:18 PM on May 24

The best dates I've ever had were from Bateel in the Dubai mall.
posted by wicked_sassy at 4:34 PM on May 24

Another mail order source of dates.. and they encourage you to call their 800 number with questions!
posted by latkes at 4:11 AM on May 26

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