Dates: Cooking series A-Z with SSG Sadler - Part 6

The many uses of dates.

Dates are considered a fruit that grows on a tree and has a flesh, outer part with a seed inside. Although its place of origin is unknown, it is speculated to have been native to the Middle East as a staple food for centuries. Dates range in color from bright red to bright yellow and are known for their simple sugars such as fructose and dextrose, which are easily absorbed into the blood stream to give you instant energy. Dates are full of fiber which prevents absorption of bad cholesterol into the gut, and are also packed with vitamin A, iron, potassium, calcium, manganese, and copper. Dates are a powerful antioxidant which prevents harmful effects of oxygen free radicals, which are known to cause cancer.

There are many uses for dates. Michigan State University Extension says that the oil from grounded date seeds can be used in some soaps and cosmetics. Dates are used in baked goods, sauces, chutneys, and many main dishes. They are also can be enjoyed as a stand-alone snack or stuffed, used as a juice, molasses or rose water.

Given the variety of how dates can be used, this particular recipe is for lamb kabobs.

Date and lamb kabobs

Makes four servings

2 lbs. leg of lamb (boneless, cut into cubes)

20 pitted dates

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. ginger

1.5 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 lemon

Directions

  1. Soak about 20 wooden skewers in a bowl of water. In a bowl combine your lemon juice, salt, ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and pepper. Set part of the marinade aside to use later and add the lamb to the rest. Allow the lamb to marinate refrigerated for at least 30 minutes or more.
  2. Fire up your grill and get it to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit (a thermometer can accurately display the temperature). Put together your skewers with the lamb and dates (you can add other veggies as well).
  3. Place you skewers on the hot grill and while you grill them, brush the skewers with the marinade that you set aside in step one.
  4. Cook on each side for about three to four minutes or until the meat is slightly charred, continuing to brush each kabob with the marinade.

Serve your kabobs with your favorite side dish (goes great with couscous, rice, quinoa or gnocchi) and enjoy!

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