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Do you know what’s up to 200 times sweeter than sugar? It’s not honey and it’s not syrup. The answer is actually monk fruit, which is starting to give alternative sweeteners like stevia a run for their money at grocery stores.
A type of Southeast Asian melon known as luo han gao, it was first cultivated by Buddhist monks in the 13th century, which is how it got its name.
Traditionally used in drinks and as medicine, monk fruit sweetener is intensely saccharine, all while containing zero calories, carbohydrates or sugar.
Processed into granulated, powdered or liquid form, it’s made by removing the seeds and skin of the fruit, crushing the flesh and collecting the juice.
And while monk fruit does contain natural sugars (such as glucose and fructose) they’re actually not responsible for its powerful sweetness.
That would be unique antioxidants called mogrosides, which don’t raise blood sugar levels. Not only has that helped catapult monk fruit’s status in the health conscious community, it’s made it a popular choice among diabetics.
When it comes to where to buy monk fruit, know that you’re unlikely to find the fresh version, as it’s challenging to grow and expensive to export.
It also goes bad quickly, which is why monk fruit is more commonly dried.
While it’s possible you’ll spot it for use in teas and herbal remedies at some Asian markets, it’s the extract that’s most commonly available, especially in health food shops.
And you can swap it for sugar in almost all instances, except the upshot is you get to use much less of it!
Use a tiny sprinkle in your morning coffee, instead of heaping tablespoons of the white stuff.
Monk fruit sweetener is even heat stable, which means you can actually bake with it. Go ahead and experiment with almost any recipe … we’re talking:
Seriously, the sky is the limit when it comes to this sweet super fruit.
Want more recipes to try monk fruit in? Swap out sugar for monk fruit with these lower sugar recipes.