SWEET AND SPICY FRESH RED DATES PICKLE is dairyfree glutenfree easy to make homemade pickle condiments.
My today’s recipe is a must try instant pickle recipe if you have fresh red dates in your kitchen. We slowly cook the dates until pulp becomes soft however outer skin remains intact. It is lip smacking sweet spicy pickle, which is made with fresh red dates, jaggery and flavored with basic Indian spices.
A sweet and spicy preserve of red dates perfect served with rice or dosa or idli, roti. It’s the best alongside curd rice.
This pickle is not like the dates chutney that is usually served with Indian chats.
Dates or date palm pickle recipe. This is an excellent way to use the red dates if you plan to preserve them for a week or two.
If you love Indian pickle, you’ll love these vegan fresh red dates pickle recipe.
This recipe is basically made using fresh red dates and pickle spices that can be found in most of Indian kitchen.
It’s a lip-smacking vegan pickle recipe. These raw dates are crunchy fruits with many health benefits.
A must known fact is the popularity of pickles in Indian subcontinent. Every kitchen in India has one or the other pickle in their pantry.
I love sweet and spicy pickles they are a sort of irresistible condiment, and nothing can beat homemade pickles!! These are artificial preservative free pickles.
Spicy earthy sweet instant red dates pickle recipe with healthy delicious ingredients.
All my vegan friends might love to bookmark this pickle recipe. It is totally dairy-free.
Check a quick video of making instant fresh red dates pickle and try this in your kitchen. If you have enjoyed the video do subscribe to Dice n Cook Youtube channel for more food videos.
- What are fresh red dates?
- How to use fresh red dates?
- Why make fresh red dates pickle?
- How to select the fresh raw dates?
- Ingredients used
- How to make red dates pickle?
- How to sterilize glass jars for pickling?
- Have a look at these pickle recipes from blog
- Tips to make perfect pickle
- Recipe Card
- Frequently Asked Questions
What are fresh red dates?
There are more than 100 types of dates grown across the globe with unique texture and taste differing from one another. These fresh red dates are also called as Hayany dates.
Raw red dates fruit are oblong red in colour and belongs to date palm tree from family of Arecaceae.
It is an edible sweet fruit bearing tree grown in dry and semi-arid regions of middle east, South Asia, Northern Africa. There are many species of wild date palms grown across the globe.
The taste is quite unique and they have a caramel flavour with velvety texture.
Some of the fresh red dates I purchased ripened quickly and they start turning brown to dark black.
In general dates are rich in iron and fresh red dates is no less. They are rich source of vitamins and minerals. You have many health benefits on eating dates. There are many reports suggesting a good dose of dates either fresh or dry helps anaemic patients.
How to use fresh red dates?
These dates are bunch of goodness which can be eaten raw or used in our everyday cooking. There are many versions of pickle making using raw red dates.
In South Indian cuisines pickle and preserves play an important role. An great accompaniment with flat breads also like chapati, phulka, jowar roti, dosa, idli.
In Kerala, dates pickle is incredibly famous and served with biryani.
I have tried many versions previously and my family loves these flavours with dates.
Fresh red dates can be used as snacks, or a healthy breakfast packed with nutrients.
You can cut open the fruit, remove the seeds, chop them fine and add it to your salads. That’s an healthy meal for your family.
For snacks, you can add chopped fresh red dates to dry nuts or roasted nuts.
Fresh red dates make a great ingredient for summer milkshake topped with some ice cream. You can also make sweet chutney using fresh red dates.
It’s a great add on to custard fruit salad with other exotic or local seasonal fruits. It’s a great dessert ingredient.
Why make fresh red dates pickle?
I highly recommend eating these red dates when still ripe and do not allow them to rotten. However, they cannot be stored for long compared to pitted or dry dates. If you wish to relish them even when they are not in season, make a batch of this pickle and store them in refrigeration.
In my case, we end up bringing it in kilos when they are plenty in market. So, we make milk shake, cakes and pickle.
And if you are person like me who love to enjoy sweet and spicy pickle
There are many reasons to make this
- Easy recipe
- Preservative free pickle
- Sweet and spicy pickle
- Lip-smacking and delightful
- Indian pickle recipe
- Keeps well for many days
- Refined sugar free
- Flavorful pickle
How to select the fresh raw dates?
Selecting fresh red dates is an important step. These dates when fresh stay good for only 8 to 10 days at room temperature. So, while buying the fruits try to buy the ones which are firm and red in colour.
Do not buy fruits which are half brown and half red in colour.
The fresh fruits should be firm to touch and do not buy fruits which are completely soft to touch.
I would suggest buy fresh red dates attached to yellow string instead of individually separated fruits. This way the viability of fruits is high and can be easily stored as well.
The separated fruits tend to become brown and spoil soon.
If the fruits are refrigerated in ziplock covers, it stays good for 10 to 12 days. Thaw the fruits before use to make this pickle.
Let’s get down to the ingredients, all are available in your pantry except the red dates.
In this recipe I have given the spices and jaggery measurements for quarter kilo of red dates.
Fresh red dates – Fresh raw red dates are chopped into small cubes and used to make pickle. Do not use overripe fruits, they will be very soft and tend to get spoilt.
Jaggery powder – I have used powdered organic jaggery in this recipe. You can adjust the quantity of jaggery as per taste preference. Fresh red dates are not as sweet as other dry dates. They are mild sweet, so we are using jaggery powder. This gives a sweet and spicy taste to pickle.
Black salt or Kala namak or Himalayan black salt – This gives a distinct flavour to the pickle and acts as a flavour enhancer in this recipe.
Add table salt as per taste.
Refined oil – Any oil of choice can be used to make this pickle preferably odourless oil. Since we are using different spices in pickle masala, make sure the strong oil flavours don’t clash with others. I have used odourless sunflower oil in this recipe.
Cinnamon powder – Here is an aromatic condiment used in this pickle recipe. I have used store brought cinnamon powder.
For pickle masala –
In south India, pickles are usually prepared with mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. In this recipe I have used two other spices that is fennel seeds and black pepper along with mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds. Roasted spices add a unique flavour to pickle.
Adjust red chilies and black pepper as per taste preference. I have used byadagi red chilies.
Lemon juice – This adds a slight tanginess to the pickle and acts as natural preservative.
Water as required to cook the fresh red dates.
A good mixer grinder with spice blender is a must.
Other basic kitchen cookware are thick bottom pan – it has to be thick since we are cooking the pickle until all the flavours are well established.
To cut the dates you need a cutting board, a knife.
Glass jar with airtight lid for storing the pickle.
How to make red dates pickle?
Here is an easy method to make pickle for beginners. Read till the end of the post to have the best red dates pickle and few important tips to remember.
Its crunchy textured pickle with sharp flavours from fried and ground spices. Slowly simmered pickle until it gets well cooked in jaggery and spices. Slow cooking gently builds rich flavours.
Red dates contribute to mild sweetness and a little amount of jaggery adds a nice colour, earthy flavours and sweetness to pickle.
The pickle recipe has four parts.
Preparations in advance
There are few recipe preparations that you can make before you begin making the pickle.
- Choose good quality fresh red dates, wash them well and keep them aside.
- Fresh red dates are usually hard from outside and soft from inside with inner seed. We can chop them in two ways.
- In this method red dates are cut open vertically and seeds are removed. Take the two halves individually and chop them horizontally into small cubes. The other option is cut each halves vertically into long slices. The choice is as per your preference. Here I have cut them into small cubes.
Keep these chopped red dates aside until you make the pickle masala.
The next step is to prepare pickle masala.
Frying the spices for pickle masala
For pickle masala we are using is black mustard seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and black pepper.
Pickle is spiced with red chillies, add red chilies as per preference of spice level.
A thick bottomed pan is heated, and all the spices are fried individually. Mustard seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, black pepper and red chilies are dry roasted. They are roasted separately since each spice requires different time interval.
Always fry the spices on medium heat to prevent burning or over frying of spices. The spices should be fried until you get nice aroma for a minute or half.
After frying, all the spices are cooled and mixed. Take a high-speed spice blender or mixer grinder and powder these fried spices into fine mixture. Store this pickle masala and use them in making fresh red dates pickle.
In the next step we are cooking the fresh red dates.
Cooking fresh red dates
We are cooking the fresh red dates until they become soft but not mushy. This is important to note. If it becomes mushy then it tastes like chutney. If its mushy then you don’t feel the crunchiness of pickle in every bite. So, I suggest check with the softness of the cooked dates.
We are pan cooking the chopped red dates in this recipe.
Heat refined oil, to this add chopped fresh red dates and jaggery. Add black salt to this and mix these ingredients.
Now add water just enough to cover the chopped dates.
Close with a lid and cook the dates on medium heat. If you feel water has evaporated while cooking add some more water.
When the dates are cooked, they become soft, and water is almost evaporated. This might take 5 to 8 minutes.
Making the pickle
In this step we are mixing the pickle masala and the cooked fresh red dates.
Add the finely ground pickle masala to cooked dates, also add cinnamon powder and salt as per taste.
Mix everything very well so that pickle masala mixes with cooked red dates. When the pickle masala is fresh, vibrant red colour is seen however as the pickle ages, red colour fades to darker hue.
At the end add squeezed lemon juice, mix well.
Close the lid and cook the pickle for four to five minutes on low heat. Here the mixture gets thickened and if any water is left out it gets completely evaporated.
Delicious pickle is ready, cool the pickle and then store them in airtight glass container.
Store the fresh red dates pickle in airtight glass jar. Glass jars are the best for storing pickle.
The lid of jar must be airtight this helps in increasing the shelf life of pickle.
The fresh raw red dates pickle can be stored for a week at room temperature and later can be refrigerated. Under refrigeration it stays good for 20 days.
Always use a sterilized and dry glass jar for storing pickle.
Use clean and dry spoon to serve the pickle.
How to sterilize glass jars for pickling?
Any pickle should be stored in glass jars. I don’t recommend using plastic jars. You can sterilize the jars before use. Sterilization methods help in increasing the shelf life of pickle.
You can sterilize using two methods.
First method is by hot air oven method, to sterilize the glass jars. Clean them with warm soapy water, wash thoroughly to remove soap stains. Place them without the lids on oven racks and heat at 110°C to 120°C for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully cool the jars, after they cool add the prepared pickle and close the lid tightly and store them.
Second method is steam sterilize the pickle jars. In a steamer or pressure cooker, add 3 inch water and boil the water. Keep a porous plate and place the cleaned washed glass jars. Close and steam sterilize for 15 to 20 mins. Cool the jars and store the pickle. Close the lid tightly and store them.
Depending on how you intend to store and use the pickle any of the above sterilization method can be followed.
Have a look at these pickle recipes from blog
There are many pickle varieties on blog, check them out
Tips to make perfect pickle
Use fresh red dates to make this pickle. This helps to retain the freshness of pickle for long time without getting spoilt.
Always adjust red chilies and salt as per taste preference.
Use fresh and pest-free whole spices for pickle masala. These give the freshness and nice aroma to the pickle.
Do not over roast the spices, this changes the flavour, colour and taste of overall ground masala powder.
Do not fry all the spices together. Since each individual spice takes different time interval. If the spices are dry fried together, they get burnt and few may remain untouched as well.
Always cool the fried spices and then powder it. This prevents moisture collecting due to griding or uneven grinding of fried ingredients.
The chopped fruits must be cooked but it should not become mushy paste like. Here we are not making chutney, so we use the well-cooked fruit pieces.
Cook the entire pickle mixture very well so that it doesn’t have any water content remaining. This helps keeping the pickle fresh for long time.
Cinnamon powder can be added directly while making the pickle masala and powdered along with other fried spices.
For spiciness, we can also add guntur red chilies along with byadagi red chilies if you want more hotness to the pickle.
The other variation you can think of is adding only black pepper and completely skip red chilies. The colour of the pickle will vary in this case.
If you do not have black salt, not to worry you can use only table salt
Jaggery can be substituted with any refined sugar. Palm jaggery or liquid jaggery also serves the purpose. Coconut sugar can also be used to make this pickle.
Lemon juice can be substituted with vinegar. Black pepper can be replaced with white pepper.
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Instant Fresh Red Dates Pickle
- Mixer grinder, sauce pan, mixing bowl
For pickle masala
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Fennel seeds or saunf – 1 tsp
- Fenugreek seeds – ¼ tsp
- Black pepper – 1 tsp
- Red chilies – 8 nos.
- Fresh red dates – 250 gms
- Jaggery powder – ¼ cup
- Salt as per taste
- Black salt – 1 tsp
- Refined oil – 2 tbsp
- Cinnamon powder – ¼ tsp
- Lemon juice – 1 tsp
- Water – ¾ cup
- Here is an easy method to make pickle for beginners.
Preparations in advance
- Choose good quality fresh red dates, wash clean them. Remove the seeds and chop them into small cubes. Keep this aside.
Frying the spices for pickle masala
- For pickle masala we are using black mustard seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and black pepper.
- A thick bottomed pan is heated, and all the spices are fried individually. Mustard seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, black pepper and red chilies are dry roasted.
- They are roasted separately since each spice takes different time. The spices should be fried until you get nice aroma for a minute or half. After frying, all the spices are cooled and mixed.
- Take a high-speed spice blender or mixer grinder and powder these fried spices into fine mixture. Store this pickle masala and use them in making fresh red dates pickle.
- In the next step we are cooking the fresh red dates.
Cooking fresh red dates
- Heat refined oil, to this add chopped fresh red dates and jaggery. Add black salt to this and mix these ingredients.
- Now add water just enough to cover the chopped dates.
- Close with a lid and cook the dates on medium heat until they are soft not mushy. If you feel water has evaporated while cooking add some more water and continue to cook.
Making the pickle
- In this step we are mixing the pickle masala and the cooked fresh red dates.
- Add the finely ground pickle masala to cooked dates, also add cinnamon powder and salt as per taste.
- Mix everything very well so that pickle masala mixes with cooked red dates. At the end add squeezed lemon juice, mix well.
- Close the lid and cook the pickle for four to five minutes on low heat. Here the mixture gets thickened and if any water is left out it gets completely evaporated.
- Delicious pickle is ready, cool the pickle and then store them in airtight glass container.
Serving options: Serve the pickle with curd rice, hot rice, dosa, idli or any Indian flat bread
PIN IT FOR LATER
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can I store this pickle?
We can easily store the red dates pickle in airtight glass jars for 15 to 20 days. The only precaution that has to be taken is there shouldn’t be any water content in the pickle or the jars we plan to use.
Is this pickle recipe scalable?
Yes!! The quantity of red dates can be doubled or reduced to half. Proportionally reduce the masala and other flavours.
Can we make this with ghee?
Usually, oil is used in making this pickle. Since oil acts as a natural preservative, I would suggest not replacing with ghee.
Can I use frozen dates for this recipe?
Yes you can. However fresh red dates are the best to use. If you still plan to use the frozen red dates, make sure to defrost or thaw them before use.
Can we use yellow dates to make this pickle?
Yes fresh yellow dates can also be used instead of red dates to make this pickle.
Can I use dry dates
I would suggest using fresh red dates for this pickle as it gives nice crunchiness and easy to cook compared to dried ones.
Can we pressure cook red dates?
No do not pressure cook the chopped red dates. They become mushy and paste like which is not suitable for this kind of pickle.
Can we add refined sugar?
You can add refined sugar but in less quantity. However I would suggest adding jaggery powder, as it gives mild earthy sweetness to the pickle.
Can we add honey to make this pickle?
As per Ayurveda, honey if heated doesn’t not hold any health benefits so I do not recommend using it.
What to eat with red dates pickle?
This pickle is usually served with rice especially curd rice, dosa, idli or chapati.
Can I freeze this pickle?
I have never tried freezing a pickle. Since we make pickles in very small batches and every one at home like them. That’s the reason I never got a chance to freeze them and use it.
But you can still freeze them in small jars and use when required.
How long does dates pickle stay good?
It will stay good and retain the freshness for 20 days when refrigerated.
How to store this pickle?
As we all know in olden days, aged grandmothers or mothers used to handle pickle department. Have you ever wondered why. The main reason is cleanliness and proper handling is very required to properly maintain the shelf life of any pickle.
It’s the same with this pickle as well. Always use a clean and dry spoon to remove the pickle from the glass jar. Always use airtight glass jars to avoid any contamination with fungal spores or moisture content from outside.
Never keep the lid of pickle jars open for a long time. Since this is a sweet pickle it tends to attract the microbial contamination faster compared to other pickles.
Can I adjust the jaggery in this recipe?
Yes you can. Adjust the amount of jaggery as per taste preference. If you prefer more sweetness, add more jaggery and inversely if less sweetness, add less jaggery.
Can I substitute with other dates?
Yes you can substitute with other dates. You can also use yellow dates to make this pickle.
Can I use red dates puree in this recipe?
I would suggest use chopped red dates to make this pickle. Puree from red dates will make this pickle into a chutney and doesn’t serve the purpose. The crunchiness from small bites of dates is the uniqueness of this pickle recipe.
Can I serve hot pickle?
I would suggest using the cooled pickle rather than hot pickle. However, licking a few deliberately is no crime to check the flavours, I assure its irresistible.
Cooling the pickle and leaving on kitchen counter for an hour with closed lid before storing is always a great option for the flavors to completely blend with chunks of red dates.
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Pavithra M Adiga
I am a passionate foodie and food photographer with love to document easy, simple to follow, healthy vegetarian recipes in Dice n Cook.