Friday, May 2, 2014

Fruit syrup recipe (sugar alternative)

After being completely sugar-free (including refined sugars, raw honey, & fruit) for almost a year to restore my blood sugar balance back in 2012, my palate has shifted and I have a very low tolerance to sweetness.  Although I've reintroduced fruit, then raw honey/unrefined sweeteners, then rarely, some refined sugar, I find that I have a very low threshold for sweetness and I cannot tolerate most refined sugars including all cane/beet, agave, sorbitol, erythritol, etc. and I just don't like stevia.  Coconut palm sugar and palm sugar (non-coconut bearing species) is one of the only (minimally) refined sugars that I can tolerate because it does not spike my blood sugar in the way most refined sugars do. Back in March, I watched pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig's TED talk (20 min) where he lists the 56 names of sugar (his longer groundbreaking 90 min talk here).  While coconut palm sugar was not one of the named, it still is a minimally refined sugar produced in a manner similar to agave or even maple syrup.  

The short attention span 5 minute version: Dr. Robert Lustig on The Colbert Report 

Coconut palm sugar has also been criticized as being "another agave syrup", not being a sustainable industry since any coconut palms used for sugar will not produce viable coconuts, and not traditional in the Philippines.  Other Southeast Asian countries do make use of coconut palm sugar.  I proceed with caution.  Frankly I don't know enough about the industry.  I use both đường thốt nốtsago palm sugar and coconut palm sugar very infrequently and have created a very low glycemic index fruit syrup alternative. 

In looking for a whole food, low glycemic alternative sweetener, I was inspired by the date syrup recipe in The Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free Kitchen.  But in reviewing the actual sugar content, I noticed that dried dates are very high in sugar, as are my previous ingredient choice, dried figs.  Dried apricots and dried prunes are much lower in sugar content by contrast.  So I suggest a syrup of organic unsulfured dried apricots or organic additive-free prunes as a substitute.  I've revised previous recipes that were made with fig to apricots or prunes.

Faux Cheezy-cake with apricot syrup topping


  • 1.5 c hot water
  • 1 cup organic unsulfured dried apricots or organic prunes
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Blend water, dried apricots or prunes, 1 tsp lemon juice.  Cool and store in an airtight glass container.  Keeps for 1 week in the fridge.

Also, check out Sudney Mintz's groundbreaking social history of sugar, Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History which traces the rise of sugar from a precious royal commodity to a working family's common staple.

Ăn Ngon Lành|Eat Delectably!

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