Large Dried Dates

Large Dried Dates

Ingredient Name: Large Dried Dates
Traditional Chinese Name: 蜜棗 (mì zǎo)
What is this?
  • Dates are the berry fruits produced from the date palm of the palm family
  • There are varying types and sizes of dates, some which are meant to be edible as snacks and some appropriate for soups
  • The best types for soups are pitted (or stoned) and have had their pits removed, this way, they can dissolve into the soup and create more flavour
  • They can be stored for 6- 12 months at a time (in an air tight container at an appropriate humidity)

How do I prepare it?

  • To prepare for soup, simply rinse with cold water and add to the COLD water of soup (prior to boiling)
  • In general, 2-3 large dried dates are sufficient for any soup

Where can I buy this?

  • In Hong Kong, any dried food store will carry this (wet marts, supermarkets, mom and pop shops)
  • In Canada, any Chinese dried food store will carry it as well (in Chinese malls)
  • They are sold pre-packaged or in bulk

What is the cost?

  • Dates are relatively affordable, you can purchase the above pictured in a Chinese store for $2 CAD / pound

Any benefits?

  • By adding dried dates to your soup, you can effectively eliminate the addition of sugar and salt
  • Dried dates contain happy amounts of fiber, iron, niacin, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, B, calcium, phosphorous, and copper
  • Dates are used to assist with constipation (because of their mild laxative effect), anemia, fatigue, and prevention to abdominal cancer

Any precautions?

  • If kept too long, dried dates may sour and are unacceptable for human consumption
  • Dried dates are highly odor-sensitive and should not be stored near onions, garlic and other alliaceous vegetables
  • If stored in temperatures greater than 25 degrees celcius, dried dates may begin to ferment and release syrup

These are a staple in my kitchen for soup making.  You can buy them in bulk and they will store nicely in the fridge or on the shelf.   I will usually either use dried dates or figs, but not both together.  This really depends on how “sweet” you want your soup to be.  My mother will even eat the dates after the soup has been made.