Dates are one of the oldest fruits known to man and are sometimes referred to as the “tree of life” because of this. They are a very sweet fruit with a caramel-like taste. They can also have notes of butterscotch, toffee, or chocolate.
Date palm trees can grow up to one hundred feet tall. It has logs made of stems which leaves grow off of. One leaf on a date palm can produce up to 150 leaflets. When harvested, dates can be eaten fresh or dried.
Fresh and dried dates are two different things. Fresh dates have more moisture, and hence are more juicy. When the moisture decreases, the natural sugar in dates becomes more concentrated. So, if you’re looking to lose weight, fresh dates are your best bet. If you’re trying to gain weight, opt for dried dates.
If you don’t have dates or are looking to try something a little different, yet not stray too far from your dates, you have plenty of options. Figs, prunes, sultanas, jujubes, lucumas, and black sapotes all look and taste similar to dates.
If you love dates, you’re probably familiar with figs too. Figs are just as delicious fresh as they are dried. A fresh fig has a creamy consistency with crunchy seeds on the inside. A dried fig is similar to dates in texture and flavor, but has a deeper caramel-like taste.
Figs and dates are often confused for each other because of their similarity. They are both sweet and fibrous, but grow from two different plants. Figs grow on a fig tree, while dates grow on a date palm tree. If you’re choosing between the two, the healthier option is figs.
Figs are lower in calories, sugars, and carbohydrates. They also contain more Vitamin C, K, and A than dates. Both figs and dates have pretty low amounts of protein and fat.
When it comes to fruits comparable to dates, prunes are probably the easiest to come across. They can be eaten on their own, or as a tasty addition to various baked goods. Prunes have a more plummy and acidic flavor, but they have the same caramel notes and chewy texture that dates do.
If you go for prunes, one thing you should know is that they can make the digestive system work faster. In other words, don’t eat too many in one sitting unless you plan on staying home.
Sultanas are formed from a type of light green grape. They’re comparable to raisins, but more juicy and flavorful. If you’re a fan of dried fruit, you’ve likely tried sultanas. They have a creamy texture and flavor with notes of brown sugar and caramel, making them essentially a much smaller version of dates.
Sultanas can be found in the baking section of most grocery stores. They should be placed around the raisins and dates.
Most commonly, jujubes are known as a chewy candy. The candy is actually made from the fruit, jujube. A jujube tree grows drupe fruits that taste very much like dates when they’re dried. Jujubes are mostly popular throughout the Middle East, so to get your hands on some, visit a Lebanese, Turkish, or Israeli grocery store.
Jujubes can also be ordered online. They can be enjoyed plain, or as part of a recipe. They are sticky and sweet, so they make for a date replacement that is up to par.
Lucuma is a fruit beloved by many, and native to the Andean valleys in Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. It’s known to help prevent heart disease and diabetes, and has been used in holistic medicine. Lucumas are packed with potassium, zinc, fiber, phosphorus, and Vitamin C which can help your skin glow as well.
Lucuma is served as is or as a powder. In the powder form, lucumas taste like sweet potato or butterscotch with undertones of caramel. A raw lucuma fruit has a flavor that is subtle and sweet, and has a somewhat dry texture.
The appearance of a whole lucuma is similar to that of an avocado, if an avocado was rounder and had more smooth skin. Their pit is resemblant of a date. The flesh of a lucuma tastes like a cross between bananas and dates. Lucumas can be sold fresh or frozen in South American food supermarkets.
6. Black Sapotes
Black sapotes are a species of persimmon. They are a tropical fruit native to Central America and Colombia. The name sapote is in reference to any soft, edible fruit, hence their similarity to dates.
A ripe black sapote is described as tasting very sweet and caramel-like, with hints of cocoa and persimmon. Their flesh is scoopable and comparable to papayas. Black sapotes are around the same size and shape of a smaller sized tomato.
If you enjoy dates, you’re likely to enjoy any of the other fruits on this list. There are plenty of fruits with a similar flavor and consistency to dates. Whether you’re feeling adventurous or are sick of the same old thing, you have a lot of options to keep your date craving satisfied.