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2023 Issue 1


Shields Date Garden — Indio, California (click to enlarge)


Shields Date Crystals (click to enlarge)


Uncovering the Mystery of
Date Crystals?

We found an intriguing recipe in Nana’s recipe tin: Date Crystal Pie. To uncover the mystery of “date crystals” let’s take a trip back in time.

Bess and Floyd Shields opened a small roadside cafe on Christmas Day 1924 in the desert near Palm Springs, California. In 1936 they pioneered the date crystal — a new food ingredient that they patented. Date Crystals are dried date pieces that look somewhat like oatmeal flakes (see image on left). They are said to be easier to use in cooking than freshly chopped dates.

The Date Crystal Pie recipe was submitted by Margaret Rupnow, our most frequent contributor. Since date crystals are only available through mail order directly from Shields, we were unable to get the ingredient before publication deadline. We have added the recipe to the site and hope to include an image later.

Tucked inside Nana’s recipe tin was a vintage brochure from Shields. We have provided a link that shows the inside of the brochure, complete with recipe suggestions (see image below right).

Vintage Brochure Cover
View Inside Brochure

Want to know more about Shields Date Garden? It’s a 17-acre date grove, botanical garden, beautifully landscaped with fountains and statues. Travel celebrity Huell Howser explored Shields in his acclaimed 1990s TV series called California’s Gold.

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Home Cakes Chocolate Cakes Cookies Chocolate Cookies Pies Candy Other Desserts
Main Dish Chicken Soups Salads Hors D'oeuvres Side Dishes Breakfast Search