10 Top Tips for Date Honey – Part 1

Posted on August 18, 2010


Kosher & Vegan Rosh Hashanah Gift BasketAs you may have read in previous posts, at Manna we’ve replaced traditional bee honey with ‘date honey’ (Silan) to create a vegan version of our Jewish New Year gift box. Not only does this move have some good biblical foundations, with date honey considered by some scholars to actually be the originally intended ‘honey’ of the ‘Land of Milk and Honey’, but it’s long been one of my personal favourite ‘secret ingredients’. I use it in everything from salads to stews and desserts.

In the process of registering our vegan gift boxes with The Vegan Society, Daniel from the Trademark division (who is a lovely guy to deal with) asked me what I would use it for. I sent him a jar with my favourite salad dressing recipe and then thought about all the other ways I use it. So, I thought I’d share some of them with a wider audience. You.

Note: We don’t currently include the Silan in any other of our gift boxes, but I am planning to create a vegan gift box with it and some other yummies I am taste-testing at the moment. If you can’t wait – comment or contact us and we’ll do out best to sort you out with some sooner!

I must admit that the only Silan I use is the one from Kinneret Farms, which is the same brand I managed to source for our Rosh Hashanah gift box. I know there are other date syrups out there, but can’t guarantee they’ll taste the same (seriously, the Kinneret Farms Silan is YUMMY).

So, over the next few weeks, I’ll be testing and sharing with you some of my favourite date honey tips. So here is Part 1:

#1. As a Dip for Apples at Rosh Hashanah

I had to start with this one, as it’s the main reason we included it in our Vegan Rosh Hashanah gift box. To symbolize the traditional blessing for a ‘sweet new year’ (Shana Tova u’Metukah), Jews slice up a fresh apple and dip it in honey. For those who don’t like the taste of honey, as well as for those who don’t eat it for other reasons (e.g. vegans), date honey (Silan) is a great alternative and one which, I think, tastes much better than the traditional. Switch to  date honey and you can also feel good about it being a genuinely biblically-grounded alternative (see comments above).

#2. In Baked Apple & Apple Crumble

Continuing with the ‘apple & honey’ theme, date honey is a great alternative to sugar in baked apple or apple crumble. For those of you who, like me, like to use tart cooking apples in the apple portion but like to sprinkle a little sugar, drizzle some Silan on instead. Toss the apples around in it before adding a little cinnamon, your cumble mixture (if using) and baking. So simple and absolutely delicious with (dairy or non-dairy) cream or ice cream.

On the weekend I made a wonderful bake of chopped bramley apples and tart plums, courtesy of my mother’s bountiful garden. It was going to be a proper crumble, but we all felt the calories would be better spent on ice cream! I drizzled over the Silan and tossed them around with a little cinnamon. Baked the mixture for 30 minutes in the oven and served with vanilla ice cream. Seriously delish.

#3. In Any Cake Recipe that Calls for Honey

If you don’t like the taste of honey, then Silan is a fantastic alternative in any cake recipe. I used it very successfully to replace honey in Harry Eastwood’s fabulous Chocolate Heartache cake (pareve), which I thoroughly recommend. My next mission is to see if it can be made completely vegan by replacing the eggs too – will let you know how I get on!

#4. As a Dressing Over Salads & Baked Veggies

I absolutely love Silan as a salad dressing. Just combine with balsamic vinegar, good olive oil, a pinch of salt and your own mix of dried or fresh herbs (e.g. basil, oregano) for an outstading dressing over leaf salads or drizzle over warm, mixed oven-baked vegetables. If you have some time, roughly chop up a clove of garlic (in big enough pieces so you can remove them before serving) and leave to infuse for at least 20 minutes for a lovely garlic-y tang.

#5. In Stir-Fries

So quick and easy – for days when I don’t really feel like ‘cooking’. Hot wok. Oil. One chopped clove of garlic. Handful of walnuts or pecans, if you have them around). One pack of ready-to-go stir-fry vegetables. One pack of rice noodles. A drizzle of Silan. A good few splashes of light Soy sauce. Stir fry. Serve. Yummy.

More in Part 2!

– Shelley