For all those people out there who say they ”don’t have a sweet tooth”, the proof really lies in the pudding. Could they stomach sweet foods without a trace of sugar or sweetener? One thing’s for sure, those treats would not taste half as good without any form of sweetness.
The reality is that sugar is present in almost all foods we eat today — even the savory kind. But what’s important to note is that sugar on its own is not a ”bad” food — only the amount you consume.
This brings us to sugar alternatives, such as monk fruit sweetener. To learn more about how to use monk fruit sweetener in your cooking, this is the blog for you.
What Exactly Is Monk Fruit Sweetener?
Some might argue that the world, as a whole, has a rather large sweet tooth. And there are statistics to prove it. In the U.S. alone, the average American consumes 57 pounds of sugar each year. There’s no denying that as a global population we are addicted to sugar.
Not only does sugar enhance other flavors within food, but sugar alone tastes great. Diet culture has done a stellar job of demonizing sugar. But the truth is, no singular food is inherently bad for you. It’s the amount of it that you eat which can have a dire impact on your health.
Nevertheless, sugar consumption is still a massive problem, the world over. It’s a key contributor to health crises in many countries with populations suffering from diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and more.
As a result, we’ve done a good job of creating alternatives to sugar, such as monk fruit sweetener. This is just one of many popular sugar substitutes that you can cook and bake with.
But what exactly is monk fruit sweetener anyway?
In short, it’s made from a fruit (Siraitia grosvenorii) that’s native to Southern China. The small, melon-shaped fruit inherited its name from Buddhist monks who have grown and consumed this fruit for centuries.
Here’s a breakdown of the production of monk fruit sweetener:
- By crushing the fruit, this releases the natural juices
- These juices are then mixed hot water, which is then filtered to leave behind the fruit infusion
- This fruit infusion dries out and leaves behind a fine powder, found in the sweetener and other monk fruit products
Also called Swingle fruit, it originates from the same family as melons and pumpkins. Naturally, it’s quite sweet, thanks to the fruit’s range of antioxidants. And as a sweetener, it’s actually 200 times sweeter than sugar.
What Are the Benefits?
The first and most obvious benefit of monk fruit sweetener is that a little bit goes a long way. Because of how much sweeter it is than regular sugar, this means you actually consume less!
Some of the additional benefits include:
- You can consume fewer calories using monk fruit sweetener because of how it’s metabolized by the body — it has a lower glycemic index
- This, in turn, does not spike your blood sugar levels, like regular sugar, because of improved glycemic control
- It also has anti-inflammatory properties, called mongrosides, found in the fruit sugars
- You can avoid cavities
As mentioned, it’s a versatile product that you can use in both cooking and baking. And the best part is that it does not have an aftertaste like many artificial sweeteners on the market today.
How To Use Monk Fruit Sweetener in Cooking or Baking
In summary, it’s a smart sugar replacement. You can use monk fruit sweetener in just about any dish that needs a touch of sweetness or flavoring. By doing so, you can still reap the benefits of delicious tasty treats, but can dramatically decrease your sugar and carbohydrate intake.
However, it’s important to remember that monk fruit sweetener is a lot sweeter than natural sugar. This means you have to use it sparingly, otherwise, it can easily overpower your dishes/baking. Bear in mind that some monk fruit sweeteners may be mixed with other sweeteners, too. Always read the label, first!
When it comes to quantities, you could probably use a quarter of the amount of monk fruit sweetener in your recipes when compared to regular sugar. But this also depends on the recipe, so follow instructions carefully.
Otherwise, you can use monk fruit sweetener to:
- Add sweetness to your morning oats or cereal
- Sweeten natural/plain yogurt
- Sweeten your tea/coffee
- Enhance the flavor of savory dishes, such as Bolognese sauce
The reason why monk fruit sweetener is so popular as an alternative to sugar is because of its stability. It can withstand high temperatures which makes it ideal for both cooking and baking.
Baking With Monk Fruit Sweetener
While cooking with this sweetener is pretty simple, there are few things to keep in mind when it comes to baking. Monk fruit sweetener is a little more temperamental in baked goods, albeit still easy to use.
First of all, this sweetener does not react in the same way that sugar does in baked goods. Sugar serves multiple purposes in baking — it doesn’t only add sweetness. It also plays a role in forming the structure of baked goods, adding texture, leavening, and adding flavor.
Even though monk fruit sweetener may not serve all of these purposes, you can still bake with it. Here’s what to keep in mind:
- It’s the perfect alternative to sugar for buttercream frosting and glazes
- You can use this sweetener in desserts that call for liquid sweeteners, i.e. honey/maple syrup
- Monk fruit sweetener is ideal for vegan desserts and baked treats
If you want to bake a cake, for example, it’s best to use monk fruit granules instead of powdered sweetener. Just remember that it may take some trial and error to get the balance of sugar perfect in your baked goods — so, in the meantime, have fun with it!
In Need of Recipe Inspiration?
How to use monk fruit sweetener in your cooking or baked goods depends on what you’re making. The most important factor to keep in mind is the intense sweetness of this sugar substitute and to use it sparingly, at first!
For all the recipe, cooking, and baking inspiration you’re looking for, this site is your go-to. Be sure to explore for recipe inspiration, right at your fingertips.
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