What To Do With Dates?


I was on a pantry clean-out tear recently and came across three pints of pitted dates. I know why I have them. I used them a few months ago to make my favorite cocktail party recipe: Bacon-Wrapped, Chestnut Stuffed Dates.
I’ll give you the recipe, but in exchange — could you help me?

What do I do now with three pints of pitted dates?


Bacon-Wrapped, Chestnut Stuffed Dates
Pitted Dates
Goat Cheese

I’m sorry I can’t be more specific on the amounts here, but this is a recipe you just have to play by ear.

Cut the bacon slices into thirds. Crumble the chestnuts into smaller pieces. Using scissors, cut the dates down the middle lengthwise and press on them slightly to flatten them. Using a spoon or your fingers, smear a thin layer of goat cheese inside the date, then press about half a chestnut into it. Pinch the date closed, then wrap it in a bacon-slice third. Place the bacon seam down on a sheet pan.

You may refrigerate these a few hours ahead of the party. Then bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until the bacon is cooked through. You will need to let them cool, them move them to serving platters and pass at your party. I swear, they will be the hit of the night.

Thing is, I don’t have any parties coming up. So what to do about my dates?


About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.


  1. I like simple flavors. Bacon, cheese, dates, etc. is too much. Showcasing simple flavors is much more elegant and refined. It bothers me when restaurants try to overdo dishes. I see that a lot at Stone Barns. When you start with excellent ingridients, you don’t need to overcook, overseason, or over combine flavors. I think that’s why the food is so good in Europe or San Francisco and why NY has a lot of catching up to do.

  2. Ah, I see. I happen to agree with you — as you can see from my post on Adagio.

    But in this case, the cheese is really more of a vehicle for getting the chestnut to stay put. It’s very mild, and doesn’t bring much to the table. Chestnuts give an earthy note to the sweetness of the date, and bacon — well, it’s bacon. What’s not to like? Salty and smoky with sweet is good! Especially with cocktails.

    I’m on your page, though.

  3. i dont think i would put cheese with the dates. bacon maybe. or scallops maybe?
    the bacon cheese whatever with the dates sounds like what emeril would do, and i am no big fan of his.

  4. Would I steer you guys wrong? I’m telling you — this dish is delicious.

    Now. How about your suggestions?

  5. put them out as they are. candy them. put them with rice. stuff em in a turkey/chicken/duck.

  6. Stuff dates in meat? Candy dates? All I can say is wow. A much better way to enjoy dates is in your creamy oatmeal. Or use dates in a yummy crunchy granola.

  7. Date nut bread and/or muffins.

    Or mix them in a fruit salad with apples & walnuts.

  8. Tom,

    Let me guess you dont like meat. ;-]
    liz asked for cooking suggestions. the first part of my list was “as they are” which is basically what you suggested in oatmeal and granoloa. I actually like to cook and if i had fresh dates i might just experiment with it with one of the meats i suggested. actually the more i think i see that the game meats would be better .. duck or goose..
    and if you get granoloa sometimes the dates in it are candied /dried and sugared so there u have it.
    have fun…

    CR – i love date nut bread. 🙂 specially with butter..
    its dessert

  9. Blue Cheese goes well with dates also. Also goes well with figs. We used to marinate whole water chestnuts in sugar and soy sauce, then wrap in a small piece of bacon, bake in the oven until very crispy. I hated these when I was younger, and then grew to like them. I’m wondering if I ate them now if I would still like them, or is it just a nostalgic memory I like…

  10. How about mincing them up and putting them in muffins or scones?

    I always enjoyed them as a child, stuffed with peanut butter then rolled in grated sweetened coconut.

    Nothing wrong with putting them in an airtight container and putting them in the freezer until you need them.

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