Montana Public Radio

Cutting Out Added Sugar? Try Substituting This Fruit

May 24, 2020

Looking to cut down on processed sugar when baking and cooking? "Food Guys" Greg and Jon recommend substituting dates, a naturally sweet little fruit from the Middle East that's packed with health benefits.

Many varieties of dates grow across the globe, but plump, succulent medjools and deglets are two of the most popular kinds for cooking. Don't worry if you can't find these: you can always moisten drier varieties of dates by soaking them in hot water.

Greg points to a favorite scone recipe that he adapted recently, reducing the added sugar from its original 5.3 tablespoons down to only two, which he paired not with raisins or currents, but with chopped-up medjool dates.

In savory treats, their sweetness provides a subtle counterbalance to salty and fatty foods like bacon. One delicious appetizer Greg encountered during his recent travels in the date-growing country of Southern California: a medley of dates and walnuts, wrapped in bacon.

Dates are also a source of fiber, vitamins and proteins, making them a great snack on their own.

"You could practically live on dates," said Greg.

(Broadcast: "The Food Guys," 5/24/20 and 5/13/18. Listen weekly on the radio at 9:53 a.m. Sundays, or via podcast.)