How to Make Your Own Date Sugar

How to make your own date sugar. Easy, wholesome alternative sweetener!

Date sugar is a marvelous alternative sweetener. It’s not even really a “sugar” in the sense that it was derived from something and processed into concentrated sweetness. Wanna know what it actually is?

Cooked and ground-up dates! Really, that’s it.

And dates are just an all-around awesome food. High in carbohydrates, they’re a great thing to have around for people on the GAPS diet. And speaking of that, did you know that honey isn’t the only sweetener allowed on GAPS? Dr. Natasha didn’t put date sugar on the list, but she does say dates are okay! And like we just established, date sugar = nothing but dates!

Dates also are a very good source of tryptophan, an amino acid. You know how they say that eating turkey makes you sleepy? Well, that’s cause it has tryptophan in it. So if you’ve got hyper kids that want a sugar fix — maybe date sugar is just what you need!

Date sugar bought in stores is pricey. Plus, with some of the kinds I’ve seen, the sugar is almost white. Uh, dates are brown! Skip the overly-processed stuff and just make it yourself. It’s easy!

 You’ll need:

  • Some dates (find organic medjool dates here)
  • A baking sheet (I bought my stainless steel one here)
  • A food processor (I dearly love my little pink Cuisinart) or a coffee grinder (this one is awesome)

Directions:

Slice and pit the dates. I’m a total newbie to these things — never even had them before starting GAPS. I hear there’s more than one type. Mine is the kind with pits inside — “Medjool” — but if yours doesn’t have pits, welp! Maybe still slice them open anyway. Just for fun. (And to let the air and heat get to the middle parts.)

Spread onto a baking sheet. I like to use my stainless steel sheet because aluminum is bad news.
Bake at around 250 degrees (275 worked for me, but you may want it a little lower to lessen the chance of overcooking) for 2-3 hours, then turn the oven off, but leave the dates in the oven overnight to dry. You want to get the dates to a point where they are rock hard, but you have to be careful not to burn them while you’re baking. The sugar begins to crystalize and it can get overcooked in a hurry. I tried 325 degrees and the skin on the dates started to get a little too crispy!
Let the hardened dates cool down, then pulse slowly in either a high-powered food processor, or a coffee grinder. I freaking LOVE my coffee grinder. I use it to make almond and coconut flour, because it makes such a nice, powdery mill whereas my little food processor that’s only meant for chopping things, makes sort of a chunky almond meal. Or in this case, date meal. For a fine sugar, I use the coffee grinder.
Pack into a container and refrigerate. Even though the coffee grinder grinds the dates to a fine powder, it does tend to clump (those aren’t chunks of un-ground dates in the pics, just clumps of powder), and it’s very sticky. It’s almost like a cross between brown sugar and molasses. So if you need it to be more powder-like again, you can take out a chunk and whip it up in a food processor to get it manageable again.

 Alternate method:

If you want to make the sugar more of a “raw” food, to prevent loss of the nutrients found in dates, you can slowly dehydrate them at a low temperature (100-110 degrees) either in a dehydrator, or in the summertime — in a hot car, inside a (turned off) barbecue, or just out in the sun. That would take a couple days, given the hours of hot sunlight available. I haven’t done this yet, but I think it would taste differently than the higher-heat method. The sugar in dates gets all nice and toasty and crystalizes/caramelizes in the oven, changing the flavor.

What do I do with it?

Well, date sugar is a little different than other types of sweeteners. It doesn’t dissolve like sugar, so you probably wouldn’t want to try to stir it into your coffee or tea. And if you’re baking with it, just be aware that your treats will have little granules of crunchy date sweetness, which is something I kind of like! If you’re eating grains, date sugar is awesome as a substitute for brown sugar in your oatmeal. Or on top of yogurt or even ice cream!

I’ve also got a recipe I’m brewing up for GAPS-legal snickerdoodles — and instead of granulated sugar topping, we’ll be using this homemade date sugar instead. They’re gonna be amazing, I’m sure!

What do you think?

Have you ever heard of or used date sugar? Do you think you might try this out? If you do, be sure to let me know how you like it!

 

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58 Responses to How to Make Your Own Date Sugar
  1. Lora says:

    I first learned of date sugar when doing the South Beach diet a few years ago. A lot of their recipes call for it! I did spend a fortune on that little bag too, so this is good to know! It’s like … duh! Why didn’t i think of that! It seems so OBVIOUS now!

  2. Dawn says:

    I’m ordering the Medjool dates from my food co-op right now! Thanks :)

  3. thecinnamonlady says:

    I bought some dates the other day without a particular plan, but this sounds fabulous with my morning oatmeal! Thank you!

  4. [...] and ground-up dates! Really, that’s it.   Read More » Be Sociable, [...]

  5. Susan says:

    Great idea! Thanks for the good info.

  6. Skye says:

    I love this! And, as Lora siad, WHY didn’t that ever occur to me?!!
    I know one thing I’ll be doing this weekend!!
    Thanks.

  7. Thanks for this great idea! I’ve been experimenting lately with my baked goods… I have eliminated all the sugar in my standard recipes and instead use lightly steamed and pureed raisins, prunes and dates. I use significantly less than the liquid sweetener requested or made amend the recipe slightly to offset the extra liquid if a granulated sweetener is suggested. Works amazingly well… even in recipes that the children love!

  8. Bethany says:

    PLEASE post the recipe for snickerdoodles! Once you’ve come up with it, I mean. I’m on the GAPS diet, and I LOVE snickerdoodles, they are like my favorite coolie ever! And I will try the date sugar, sounds good, because I love dates! I will split a date open and put butter inside for a snack. :)

    • Luke says:

      I recommend light smart balance. The saturated fat and Trans fat is not good for you and is creating more cholesterol (LDL) which is bad because our body produces enough. The sugars in butter(milk and cream) are harmful too,
      That’s why diabetes is on a rise. The casein and whey are incomplete amino acid chains so you are not getting the full protein plus some SCIENTIFIC SCIENTIFIC studies showed that the protein isn’t good anyway. Just wanted to spread some truth.

      Cite source: Dr. Michael Greger, http://www.nutritionfacts.org, various scientific documents.R

      • Brandi says:

        No scientic study has peoven anything about what you said. Get with the times, saturated fat raises your HDL and the good LDL particles(the fluffy kind). The framington heart study found those who consumed more saturated fat were thinner,less heart disease and lived longer. We have been consuming nice stable saturated fats for a lond time before diabetes and heart disease were on the rise. Fact, since we began eating vegtable oils, processed seed oild heart disease began its steady stream up, even tho death rates went down because of better medical care and knowledge. The cholesterol hypothesis was never proven, in fact it has been dissproven time and again. No study has EVER found meat to be bad, remember we havr been eating it thousands of years before agricutural times. The china study, picked aoart as blatently bad science, dissproven though better studies time and again. History has already told us this. Diabetes abd heart disease were practically non existent before agricutural times and not precalent to such s degree befire 50 years ago and no where near what it is now. So seriously get with the current tmes, your ignorance is showing. Way to be a complete sheeple. Milk also isnt inherently bad, especially for me as i come from a ancestery that has been drinking milk for a very long time. I will admit that todays processed milk from poor sad confined and antibiotic raised cows has produce a health destroying swill thats been killing us ever since. Grasd fed raw all the way, and its safer than the cdc and fda would have you believe. Why? Because it comes from pasture raised cows and comes from only one dairy farm usually with its fat and proteins, vitamins and minerals intact. Fun fact, milk products and eggs, relirively high in fat, have this amazing vitamib called K2 which is essential for your health, it keeps your arteries nice and supple, it tells your body where to put the calcium you get, vital for the formation of teeth and jaw structures in utero. Processed is never right over whoke foods, EVER. I could go on forever on this. Pasture raised beef contaons as much omega 3s as salmon, but the people in charge wont tell you that because it goes against what they have been saying. You just gotta root through some of this yourself i guess. THe book Eat the yolks is a new book that really covers ot all REALLY well, i suggest it cus its a fub and easy read.

  9. Susan W says:

    Thanks for the recipe! Good use for them for if I have them in the house, I nosh them down.

    I’ve heard of date sugar for quite awhile. It is used in Indian cookery. They call it “jaggery” or “gur” in the recipes in my cook book. I’ve seen them sold in cone shapes in Indian grocery stores. Also I believe I saw something similar to the cone shapes (probably could be date sugar but might be unprocessed cane sugar) in Hispanic groceries here where I reside.

    Where I live, it gets hot enough for them to bake in the sun on my back porch in direct sunlight, beating down on them. Dry enough, too

    Do you HAVE to used Medjool? Isn’t Deglet Noor dates good enough to make into date sugar?

  10. I’ll follow your instructions and make my own date sugar.

  11. So excited about this! I have half a container of dates from Costco in the fridge right now and I just ran out of coconut sugar with my last batch of rosemary lemonade.

    I’m already drooling over your GAPS legal Snickerdoodles recipe! Looking forward to that!

  12. [...] Pour your whisked brine on top of the ham. If you’re using date sugar, it won’t completely blend in; it will still be a bit chunky. I didn’t mind that at all, especially once I baked it. Also, if you’re not on GAPS, you might prefer to try this with Rapadura or another unrefined sugar. If you’re not willing to pay the hefty price of date sugar, Emily at Butter Believer has a great tutorial on how to make your own. [...]

  13. I’ve never heard of date sugar.I think I may try it.It’s may be best is i use it instead of sugar when sweetening buns or cakes.

  14. [...] Date sugar, in baked goods, like cookies and granola (it doesn’t dissolve well in drinks). It’s not cheap, so here’s how to make it yourself. [...]

  15. date sugur is very healthy and benifically because date food is energy food they provide a energy our body.

  16. Angela says:

    If a recipe calls for some other sweeteners can date sugar be used instead in equal amounts?

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Good question! The thing about date sugar is that it’s really not a very good, well, sugar replacement. ;) It’s a great sweetener, it just doesn’t behave the same as granulated sugar does since it doesn’t melt, etc. You can play around with it and experiment a little, but as far as baking, I would rather use honey and save the date sugar to sprinkle on top. Nice and crunchy and adds a unique flavor!

  17. [...] Date sugar (learn how to make your own here!) [...]

  18. [...] date sugar before? All it is is dehydrated and ground up dates. You can buy it at Whole Foods or make your own. I haven’t tried making it at home yet, but I plan to someday. You can replace date sugar in [...]

  19. [...] than dates. The best thing about date sugar is that you can make it yourself. Follow this link for a step-by step [...]

  20. Dora says:

    I checked them after 75 minutes @ 275 degrees and they were seriously burned! Now I have to buy a whole bunch of dates all over again. I’m so disappointed.

    • ButterBeliever says:

      They might not actually be burned. Did you taste it? If you look closely at the picture where mine are sliced in half in the coffee grinder, you can see that the outsides look almost black they are so dark brown. But there aren’t any black chunks in my date sugar. It just looked like it on the outside. If you don’t want the sugars crystalized in this way, your best bet is to dehydrate them.

      • Dora says:

        I did taste them, for exactly that reason. I thought maybe they had just darkened. Nope. They were seriously, seriously burned. I just cooked some again and they started to burn at about 30 minutes, so I turned the oven off. But the dates are still soft, so I don’t know what to do. If I process them like this, I will just get a paste. Will they harden overnight in the oven (even though they aren’t cooking)? I don’t have a dehydrator. Is there anyway to dry/cook them correctly without one?

        • ButterBeliever says:

          Yes you have to turn the oven off (but without opening it) to leave the heat in there so it can act act as a dehydrator with a low heat for overnight or all day. They wouldn’t harden without the heat.

          Only thing I can think of as to the reason why yours are burning at that temperature is that I made these in our very low-tech gas oven. The temp gauge always did seem a little off to me. I would try cooking them at maybe 200 and keep an eye on it, then after they look done on the outside, turn off the oven and leave overnight. You might have to do another round of cooking then leaving them in the oven for hours. Good luck! Sorry my instructions weren’t working for you!

          • Jacquie Bate says:

            Presume those temperatures are Fahrenheit? Celcius would make it way too high, which would burn them for sure!

  21. [...] here. Or simply toss 1/2 cup packed dates in with the almond milk until well-blended. Reg­ular sugar [...]

  22. [...] can find date sugar at most health food stores or you can make your own date sugar by following this [...]

  23. [...] Date Sugar is made with dehydrated dates that have been ground up to a fine powder, making it an excellent source of potassium, calcium and magnesium. Plus, dates loaded with fiber, which helps you feel fuller and keeps you…well, you know, regular. Although it won’t dissolve in drinks like regular sugar, date sugar will give baked goods a fabulous taste. You can find date sugar online here, or in most health food stores. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even make it at home. [...]

  24. julie says:

    Thanks! I use dried dates a lot to sweeten smoothies. Now maybe I’ll dehydrate some and try granulating them as you said. We’re trying to get rid of cane sugar in our diets altogether.

  25. [...] Carrie came out for a visit recently and wanted to work on a pinterest project together. I didn’t have time to run to a craft store or home improvement store for supplies so I picked this simple project: date sugar. [...]

  26. Stacy says:

    Since you mentioned making coconut flour, now I need to know how you do it! All I get is granulated coconut in my food processor.

    I live in Belize and have access to fresh coconuts off the tree, but can’t figure out how to make flour from them. And no place sells coconut flour here!

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Oh shoot, i should have mentioned that! I think I had planned on writing a post about it but never did. Coconut flour is what’s left after making coconut milk—there’s lots of online tutorials for how to do that. Then, take the leftover pulp and dry it out in either a dehydrator or an oven on the very lowest temperature—maybe even just the light on in a warm oven turned off overnight. Then you can take the dry pulp and grind it a little finer in a grain mill or the coffee grinder I used for date sugar. Hope that helps!

  27. [...] Ingredients 6-8 stalks of rhubarb, ends trimmed & cut into 3/4 inch pieces 1 handful of strawberries or raspberries 1 inch fresh peeled ginger, finely grated “sweeten” with agave, maple syrup or date sugar [...]

  28. [...] Recipe thanks to : How to Make Your Own Date Sugar | Butter Believer. [...]

  29. [...] – according to how sweet you’d like it. (Alternatively, you could use date sugar:   see here on how to go about it – NB: US site = temps in [...]

  30. Linda says:

    Great idea. I’m going to give this a try.

  31. gen says:

    Date sugar is wonderful in pumpkin pie instead of granulated sugar.

  32. Karin says:

    I am thinking this would work for Whole 30, when you just HAVE to have a little sweet.

  33. Wendy says:

    Thanks for this, I made some this morning :)

  34. [...] let alone price it – this worked out very cheap to make. I got the directions from here  http://butterbeliever.com/how-to-make-your-own-date-sugar , she used medjool dates but I used packaged dried dates purchased on special at $1.60 for 400 g. [...]

  35. Jessica says:

    Wow this is so exciting! I can’t wait to try it. I have a question sort of unrelated though: how do you clean out your coffee grinder? Mine smells like cumin from grinding cumin seeds and I wouldn’t want my date sugar to taste like that. I’m not sure what the best way to get the smell out is. Thank you!

  36. Jen says:

    Hi there. This is great news — GAPS is something I am very curious about. What does Dr. Natasha say about liquid stevia and also coconut sugar? Been googling to no avail on those two.

  37. [...] Homemade date sugar.  That’s just cool. [...]

  38. [...] How to Make Your Own Date Sugar – Butter Believer [...]

  39. Muhammad says:

    It’s really interesting! I shall try it by sundrying a different date species.

  40. Danielle says:

    This was a great tutorial. I bought some organic dates at sprouts and this is exactly what I wanted to do with them. Thanks! I’ll be baking them this evening!

  41. […] fill it with almond butter. It’s a super easy sweet snack. You can also make date sugar (recipe here) and date paste (recipe […]

  42. The Yum List says:

    Thanks for this! I can’t wait to try it out. I also just found a recipe for date syrup which looks equally inviting. Now… I’m off to find a big bag of dates.

  43. Julie says:

    Regarding making date sugar, could I use “date fines” instead? Much easier to just grind up in the coffee grinder.

    Is dates made into fine powder for a sweetener considered processed?

  44. […] help the dates dehydrate evenly. If you can find them with the pits removed, even better. Emily, at Butter Believer has a tutorial titled make your own date sugar, that you should check out if you want to try doing it […]

  45. Alexander Cranford says:

    If you put stainless-steel sheets in the oven , they will buckle.

  46. […] How to Make Your Own Date Sugar (butterbeliever.com) […]

  47. Dolly says:

    Do you mean Celsius or Fahrenheit? :)

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