I have been giving dates syrup for my kids since they were a year old as advised by a doctor in India. He was not so much into vitamin supplements or iron drops for the kids and he suggested that I give them dates syrup mixed with milk on a daily basis. The babies loved the taste of this milk too but here in California, I couldn't find them anywhere despite of seeing dates trees all around the community. I started making dates syrup after searching a couple of recipes. There were a couple of methods and I tried a few of them. These 2 cooking methods seemed to work with me. I also made a simple banana cake with this new batch for my kids. This flavor is really good with a nice smell. Please try this dates syrup in other dessert recipes and let me know your comments.
1. Seedless dates, 1 cup.
2. Water, 2 cups.
3. Salt, a pinch.
4. Brown sugar or jaggery, 2 tablespoons (optional).
Soak the dates in water for an hour. Then boil them for around 25-30 minutes until the dates turn mushy and soft. Let it cool completely for an hour. At this point, you can strain the dates through a sieve by gently pressing the dates with a spatula. This way we can get the thick syrupy texture without the skin and the husk. This can be added in milk or other beverages and this has a honey texture. Another method is that once the dates is cooled, blend it into a smooth puree. This can be added as a sweetener wherever sugar is required.
Ideas for using dates syrup:
1. Two teaspoons of syrup can be added in a glass of milk. It is better to strain the milk before serving, especially if you are feeding the milk to kids in sippy cups or bottles.
2. This syrup can be used in place of sugar in desserts like cakes, pancakes, sweet dosas, wherever sugar, brown sugar, or jaggery is used.
Some patio gardening with the kids:
This was after a story that I had read to the kids recently where a little girl plants a flower garden in the window as a birthday gift for her mother. Ever since, Krithikha wanted to do the same for me. How could I resist that :), so this weekend I had the kids plants some small plants in the patio. Aryaa wanted only cactus, so I had a bunch of succulents in his pot and Krithikha planted some flowering plants the same way just like in the story book. We also started some container vegetable gardening and they had to explain what they did to their dad just in case daddy doesn't know how to plant seeds :) Everyday the little ones keep checking on their plants as well as the vegetable containers asking if the carrots and tomatoes have come up already.
Aryaa's plant :)
Krithikha's plants :)
Some of mummy's flowering plants :