Many of us are trying to avoid certain sweeteners like refined sugar or artificial sweeteners.
We want to make healthier choices but still enjoy a little sweetness in our lives. Or, we want to be able to substitute something healthier for sweeteners called for in our favorite recipes.
Date paste makes a great alternative. And, the recipe has only TWO ingredients – dates and water!
It can’t get much easier than that. Well, that is, unless you use your Instant Pot to hurry the process along a little.
And that’s just what we did!
Making Date Paste
In this recipe, we started with a cup of dates and a cup of water.
Next time we’ll probably increase that to 2 cups of dates and 2 cups of water. That’s because we had to switch food processors halfway through the purée process because the first one was too big, and the amount of dates too small, for it to purée properly. So we switched to a smaller food processor and it worked just fine.
Gathering the Ingredients
Well, getting all the ingredients together for this recipe sure isn’t going to take much time.
We need dates and water – that’s it!
We’re also going to need an oven-safe bowl, as we will be using the Pot-in-Pot (PIP) method to cook the dates in your Instant Pot (more on that later).
We choose a ceramic bowl that fits well in our 6-quart Instant Pot. We’ve used this one many, many times before.
Note: When using a bowl or dish in your Instant Pot, always ensure that it is pressure cooker safe. If in doubt, don’t use it. We prefer to use mostly ceramic or stainless steel dishes and, occasionally, glass. If you use glass, be sure it is, at the very least, oven-safe. While this doesn’t guarantee it’s pressure cooker safe, it’s the minimum requirement.
Preparing for Pot-in-Pot (PIP)
Using the Pot-in-Pot (PIP) method means using a separate container to cook items in your Instant Pot rather than cooking the food directly in the inner liner. As your electric pressure cooker required a minimum amount of liquid (1 cup for a 6-quart, 2 cups for an 8-quart) to create pressure, that means putting the appropriate amount of water in the inner liner prior to putting the trivet and separate container in.
Basically, this is the sequence:
- put the appropriate amount of water in the inner liner (1 cup for a 6-quart, 2 cups for an 8-quart)
- place the trivet in the inner liner
- place the oven-safe container, with the prepared, recipe on the trivet
Cooking the Dates
Place the inner liner into the Instant Pot Base.
Close and lock the lid, ensuring that the Pressure Valve is in the Sealing position.
Select the Pressure Cook button (Manual on some Instant Pots) and set the cooking time for 3 minutes.
When the cooking time is complete, allow a 10-minute Natural Pressure Release (NPR) – that just means letting your Instant Pot sit for 10 minutes. Then, release the rest of the steam by carefully turning the Pressure Valve from Sealing to Venting.
Making the Date Paste
When all of the pressure has been released, and the Float Valve has dropped, carefully remove the lid.
Carefully remove the cooked dates from the inner liner, pour off and retain the liquid.
Place the cooked dates in a food processor and purée, adding liquid as necessary.
Note: When we first made this we chose a food processor that was too big, so it couldn’t purée the dates properly. We switched to a small one and it worked great. Next time, we’ll likely increase the dates and water to 2 cups each to make a larger batch.
Once you have reached the desired consistency, transfer the date paste to a clean, preferably sterile, jar.
Also, transfer the remaining liquid to a clean, preferably sterile, jar. The liquid will not be as sweet but can be used in recipes, or as a sweetener in your coffee or tea.
Both the paste and water can be kept in the fridge for up to tw0 weeks. It can also be frozen, however, if you intend to freeze it, you may want to consider using plastic containers as glass jars can sometimes crack when frozen. (We know this from experience.)
Servings: This recipe makes 48 – 1 teaspoon servings at 8 calories per serving.
- Instant Pot
- 1 cup dates
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup water for inner liner of a 6-quart Instant Pot - 2 cups if using an 8-quart Instant Pot
- Place one cup of water in the inner liner of your Instant Pot and then place the trivet in the inner liner, as well.
- Place one cup of dates in an oven-proof bowl (we used a ceramic bowl) and then pour one cup of water over the dates.
- Place the bowl on the trivet and them place the inner liner into the Instant Pot base.
- Close and lock the lid, ensuring the Pressure Valve is in the Sealing position.
- Select the Pressure Cook button (Manual on some Instant Pots) and set the cooking time for 3 minutes.
- Once cooking time is complete, allow a 10-minute Natural Pressure Release (NPR). All that means is, just let you Instant Pot sit for 10 minutes after the cooking time is complete.
- After the 10-minute NPR, release the rest of the pressure by carefully moving the Pressure Valve from Sealing to Venting.This won’t take very long as there will be very little pressure left.
- When all of the pressure has been released, and the Float Valve has dropped, carefully remove the lid.
- Transfer the bowl with the dates to a heatproof surface.
- Carefully pour off, and retain the excess liquid (we’ll need some of it when we purée the dates.)
- Place that dates in a food processor and process until smooth, adding the liquid a little bit at a time if necessary.Note: You won’t need all of the liquid.
- Transfer the date paste to clean, preferably sterilized, jar. Transfer the liquid to another jar or container. Both date paste and the liquid will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It can also be frozen, if you prefer.
- You can now use the date paste as a 1:1 substitute for sugar in most recipes.
- We use up the liquid by adding it to our morning coffee but you can use it to add a little sweetness elsewhere, too. It’s not nearly as sweet as the paste, though.
- 6-quart Pot-in-PotPressure cook - 3 minutesTime to come to pressure: 6 minutesCook time: 3 minutesNPR: 10 min.Time to release pressure: less than 1 minuteTotal Instant Pot time: approx. 20 minutes