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Date Syrup (Silan)

Date syrup, called silan in Israel, is an excellent and versatile natural sugar.  It can be used in just about the same way as honey or molasses.  The leftover solids can be used as a fruit paste.  Almost every African and south Asian mom has her recipe for it.  Here's mine.


  • a box of newly dried dates (usually about 40 pieces) with the pits removed
  • enough hot water to cover them
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon essence (the yellow part of the peel)


  • a sturdy square of muslin or cheesecloth or a wine press
  • a blender or food processor or lots of patience with a fork or masher (I use a hand blender.)
  • a bowl and strainer that will fit into it
  • a sauce pan and a spoon
  • a sterilized jar