Dried fruit including the family of sultanas, raisins, currants were something I could not abide as a child and to be honest I still don’t care for them.  If they are disguised within a tomato based chutney or flavoursome spicy curry I can just about tolerate them (it helps if I don’t know they’re there 🙂 ).  Fruit scones – no oh no..

Dried apricots – it was a former work colleague who introduced me to the most delicious ones from the English market here in Cork and I’ve been eating them since, very handy snack and great to use in stuffings for chicken or pork steak (healthiest and cleanest version are the unsulphured ones which you will identify by their colour, less bright orange more darker brown colour).  The brighter orange ones contain a preservative called sulphur dioxide.

Medjool dates – I discovered these late in life due to  my aversion to sultanas etc. When I first tried the dates from my local supermarket I wondered what I had been missing out on, try one with an almond, eaten together and you will be pleasantly surprised.

But when I tried some medjool dates I understood what Ella Woodward from Deliciously Ella had been raving about when she describes them as “so wonderfully sweet and chewy with an awesome caramel-like flavour, which makes them the best candy replacement for snacking and the best sugar replacement for cooking.”
To go a bit further, they do have a moist, sumptuous, caramel (yes that was mentioned already) taste.

They are amazing in desserts,  and recipes by Deliciously Ella, Hemsley & Hemsley, Susan Jane White amongst others will have some great creative examples. (See Favourites)

The medjool dates are a lot more expensive than the ‘normal’ Turkish dates you see in the supermarkets, which are available in the fruit & vegetable section of SuperValu and the own-brand variety in their health food aisle but they are easier to bake with, kinder to the food processor and taste so indulgent!

Nutritional benefits:

  • Fibre – they contain soluble fibre in the form of beta-glucan which is linked with helping to lower cholesterol and feeling fuller for longer
  • Natural sugars –  whilst they are high in these, the fibre that goes with it should help with keeping blood sugar levels steady.  (see article from Sarah Wilson on iquitsugar.com below)
  • B vitamins – all of them especially B6, B5, B3
  • Minerals – copper, magnesium, iron, potassium amongst others

Recipes logo






Date scones  (also known as Oatmeal, Spelt and Honey Scones from Teresa Cutter ‘The Healthy Chef’ website)

These scones may look a bit flat in shape from the photo but they are so delicious (see couldn’t save them for the photo without gorging on one of them..)

Find recipe at


Note: I substitued the 100g butter for 80ml melted coconut oil

Date scones with cranberries (576x1024)

Dates, oats, spelt flour, honey – I used a mix of dried cranberries and dates









The linked article below from Sarah Wilson’s website iquitsugar.com  – who isn’t overly a fan of dried fruit due to the high concentrated sugar content (fructose!) – will make you think about eating too much dried fruit but remember, everything in moderation, fresh is best and whole fruit mixed with fat or protein will slow down the absorption of the sugar in the fruit, keeping those blood sugar levels more balanced.


Don’t rule out date based snacks and desserts until you’ve tried them!  😉


Murray, Michael Dr, Pizzorno, Joseph Dr, Pizzorno Lara (2005) The Encyclopaedia of Healing Foods edn London Piatkus pp 274 – 275