Dates are so sweet you can use them as a sugar substitute in some baked goods. You can buy fresh dates, dried dates and pre-packaged chopped dates. A good fresh date should have brown, somewhat wrinkled and glossy skin and appear plump and not shriveled. Chopped dates are a great addition to fruit pies, sweet breads, salads and can also be used for both savory and sweet dishes. When you need to chop dates finely, rinse the knife in hot water to help with the stickiness.
Place the knife at the top of the date and make one continuous cut all the way through the date, with the knife hitting the pit, to cut the date in half.
Open the date and remove the pit.
Lay the two halves side by side on the cutting board with the skin side up.
Cut each half vertically down the middle to cut the date into quarters.
With the four slices pushed together, start at the top of the slices and make a horizontal cut all the way across the pieces.
Dip the knife in the hot water after a few cuts to prevent the dates from sticking to the blade.
For larger dates or a finer chop, slice the date in eighths instead of quarters. Dip the knife in hot water more frequently if you cannot get a clean cut. Use a plain, sharp knife, not a serrated knife.