Dates are a nutritious fruit that can add sweetness and texture to many recipes. While dates are often chopped by hand, using a blender is an easy way to get uniformly chopped dates for baking, smoothies, oatmeal, and more. Read on to learn the steps for successfully chopping dates in a blender.
- 1 Why Chop Dates?
- 2 Equipment Needed
- 3 Prep the Dates
- 4 Choosing Blender Settings
- 5 Storage and Uses for Chopped Dates
- 6 Top Cheap Blender for Chopping Dates
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions About Chopping Dates in a Blender
Why Chop Dates?
Chopping dates before adding them to recipes serves several purposes. Smaller pieces of dates will:
- Integrate more evenly into batters and doughs, rather than sinking to the bottom.
- Cook more quickly and evenly when baked.
- Blend more smoothly into smoothies, shakes, and sauces.
- Add texture without causing a choking hazard in dishes like oatmeal.
Chopped dates are ideal for any recipe where you want the flavor and nutrition of dates without the hassle of biting into a large, sticky piece.
Chopping dates in a blender requires just a few simple tools:
- Blender – A standard countertop blender with a glass or plastic jar works best. The blender should have enough power to finely grind dates, which are quite sticky and dense. A model with 600 watts or higher is recommended.
- Rubber spatula – Use a flexible rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed while chopping.
- Measuring cups – Measuring cups help add the right amount of dates to the blender. Start with 1 to 2 cups of chopped dates per batch.
- Kitchen shears or knife – Use shears or a paring knife to snip off any stems still attached to dates before adding to the blender.
Prep the Dates
Before chopping, you’ll need to prepare the dates:
- Pick through the dates. Look over the dates and discard any that are dried out or have visible mold. Fresh, moist dates will chop best.
- Remove pits. Dates with pits still inside can damage your blender. Snip each date lengthwise with kitchen shears and remove the pit inside. Pitless Medjool dates are a good option that skip this step.
- Remove stems. Trim off any remaining stems with kitchen shears or a paring knife. Stems don’t blend well.
- Rinse. Give the pitted, stemmed dates a quick rinse under running water and then pat dry with paper towels. This removes any dust or debris.
Once prepped, add the dates to the blender jar. 1 to 2 cups is a good amount for most standard blenders.
Choosing Blender Settings
Use these tips to select the right blender settings for chopped dates:
- Start on low. When first blending dates, use a lower speed to keep dried fruit from flying out of the blender. After dates break down, you can increase to a higher speed.
- Use quick pulses. Short 1-second pulses help break dates into smaller pieces gradually. This gives better control than continuously running the blender.
- Use the chop setting. If your blender has a “chop” function, engage it when chopping dates. This uses short, sporadic pulses designed for chopping.
- Blend for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Most blenders will finely grind dates within 30 seconds to 1 minute at high speed. Be careful not to over-blend into a paste.
- Stop and scrape down. Turn off the blender and use a spatula to scrape down the sides as needed. Sticky dates can cling to the blender jar.
- Add liquids if needed. If dates aren’t breaking down, add a splash of water or milk to get the texture moving. Add just enough liquid to help dates blend.
Storage and Uses for Chopped Dates
Chopped dates will keep best in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. To retain texture, avoid storing it in liquids or juices.
Add chopped dates to:
- Yogurt parfaits
- Granola bars
- Muffins and cakes
- Stuffings and meatballs
With the satisfying sweetness of dates in an easy, chopped form, you can enjoy their flavor in recipes all week long. Follow these blender tips for chopping any amount of dates to the right texture.
Top Cheap Blender for Chopping Dates
Here are 3 recommended blenders for chopping dates:
- Vitamix 5200 – With a powerful 2.2 HP motor and aircraft-grade stainless steel blades, the Vitamix 5200 makes quick work of chopping even very sticky dates. The variable speed dial allows you to fine-tune texture. Around $450.
- Ninja Professional Blender – The Ninja has a 1100 watt motor and total crushing technology to pulverize dates. It’s affordable at around $100. Look for the models with the stacked blade assembly.
- Blendtec Classic Blender – The 1560 watt motor and dull blades provide tremendous chopping power. The blunt blades prevent dates from sticking like they can on sharp blades. Around $300.
Key features to look for in a date-chopping blender:
- At least 600 watts of power
- Sharp, stainless steel blades (unless Blendtec)
- Low and high speed settings
- Pulse function
- At least a 48 oz blending jar
- Budget models under $100 like Oster and Hamilton Beach may struggle with dates
Any of these three highly-rated blenders have the power and right features to successfully chop dates to the texture you need for recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Chopping Dates in a Blender
What kind of dates work best?
Soft, moist dates like Medjool and Deglet Noor chop nicely in a blender. Avoid extremely hard dried dates. For the easiest prep, look for pitted dates.
Can I chop dates in a food processor?
Yes, a food processor can chop dates using the same pulse technique as a blender. The smaller bowl of a mini prep processor is ideal for 1 to 2 cups of dates.
How long do chopped dates last?
Chopped dates will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 5-7 days when stored in an airtight container. The chopped texture will start degrading after that time.
Can I freeze chopped dates?
You can freeze chopped dates in a freezer bag or airtight container for 2-3 months. Freeze dates in measured amounts for easy use. Thaw at room temperature or overnight in the fridge before using.
How do I chop Medjool dates?
Pitted Medjool dates can be chopped in a blender just like other varieties. Their sticky texture may require adding a splash of milk or water to chop evenly. Pulse in 1-second bursts on high speed until reaching the desired texture.
What if my dates aren’t chopping in the blender?
If dates are not breaking down, check that your blender jar and blades are completely dry first. Dates can stick in residual moisture. You can also try soaking dates briefly in hot water before draining and chopping in the blender. Finally, add a small amount of liquid to get them moving.
With the right techniques, your blender can make quick work of chopping dates to the perfect texture. Follow these tips to enjoy the benefits of chopped dates in your favorite recipes. Let us know if you have any other blender chopping tricks for dates or dried fruits to share!