This homemade date syrup recipe requires just 1 ingredient (plus water) for a thick, sweet, healthier sugar alternative (plus the date paste by-product!). This natural date sweetener is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for a healthy (ish) paleo, gluten-free, vegan sweetener!
If the dates aren't already pitted, you'll first need to pit the dates and then chop them into several pieces. It can be easiest to do this with a lightly oiled knife (as they're super sticky!).You can keep the pits, clean and dry them, and then use them for several purposes (read the FAQs).
Step 2: Soak the dates
Soak the dates to allow them to soften up. This is especially important if you're using drier dates. I do this by placing all the dates in a large bowl and topping them with boiling (or at least extremely hot) water, and soaking for 20-30 minutes.Then drain and rinse the dates.You may not need to do this step if the dates are soft enough – and you can lose a little of the sugars/flavor in the soaking liquid- so feel free to skip it and simmer the dates for slightly longer if preferred.
Step 3: Simmer the dates
Add the dates to a large saucepan and add enough water to cover the dates completely. Then bring to a soft boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Allow them to simmer for around one hour, stirring occasionally. You can simmer them even longer. During this time, the water will turn a darker brown color as the sugars leech out of the dates.
Allow the mixture to cool for a further 20-30 minutes before carrying on with the following step.
Step 4: Strain the mixture
Pour the entire mixture through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or a nut milk bag to collect the water. Then squeeze the dates too to remove as much of the excess juice as possible.Alternatively, you could blend the entire mixture into more of a puree and then sieve this instead. I prefer to do it the other way around by first removing the excess water, then I blend/process the remaining date pulp into a date paste that can be stored and used
Step 5: Reduce the syrup
While technically, the liquid is a 'date syrup' already, I like to further reduce the liquid for a thicker, more concentrated (Sweeter) consistency and flavor.
To do this, add the liquid back to the pot and simmer over medium-low heat until it is reduced to your preferred consistency and flavor (be careful not to burn it, though!). This can take 45-60 minutes. I like mine to be rich and sticky. To test this, place a tiny amount on a plate and run your finger through it. If it's too runny, then the syrup will fill the space back in; when it's thicker, it will stay separated for longer. For me, the latter is my perfect consistency!
Once ready, allow the syrup to cool before transferring it to a sterilized airtight jar/bottle.
Use high-quality dates: Use dates with a good flavor that are high quality. I recommend using organic dates if possible (they can be pricey) – just make sure to check there are no bugs in any of them as it's rare but can happen with any organic food (if there is a worm/bug in one- no need to chuck out the entire pack, just remove that one).
Reduce to your preferred level: You can adapt how sweet and thick this homemade date syrup is by reducing it for different amounts of time. It will further thicken up when cooled too.
Refer to the blog post for answers to more top FAQs!