As more consumers look to reduce their sugar intake, they are reaching for alternative sweeteners. We are thrilled to deliver on this trend with the introduction of Monk Fruit– an all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener that is surging in popularity.
What is Monk Fruit?
The monk fruit (also known as Buddha fruit or luohan guo) is a small, round superfood part of the gourd family.
Grown in the mountains of Southeast Asia, it is cultivated in remote locations where it thrives in higher elevations that receive significant amounts of rainfall. These remote mountain locales provide ideal drainage for monk fruit vines as well as welcomed shade to protect from the sun. Named after the monks that discovered the fruit thousands of years ago, the monk fruit is highly regarded in Eastern medicine and has been used for centuries for its digestive and anti-inflammatory properties. Occasionally, the monk fruit is referred to as the “immortal’s fruit,” because of the longevity of life observed in those who farm it.
How does Monk Fruit become Monk Fruit Sweetener?
You likely won’t find fresh monk fruit in your local grocery store. Rarely used in its fresh form, the round, green fruits are traditionally dried, preserved, and often sold in Chinese herbal shops. Monk fruit sweetener is made by first removing the seeds and skin and then crushing the fresh fruit to extract the juice, which is then dried and processed into a concentrated powder. This fruit extract is high in unique antioxidants called mogrosides, which make it 100 to 250 times sweeter than sugar. To reduce the intensity of sweetness, natural products such as erythritol is added to allow consumers to portion and enjoy monk fruit sweetener in the same manner and proportions as granulated sugar. Erythritol /ear-RITH-ri-tal/ is a non-nutritive sweetener that contains a fraction of the sweetness of table sugar. When paired with monk fruit extract, it’s a winning combination that matches the flavor of table sugar. Monk fruit extract contains zero calories, zero carbs, and is rated zero on the glycemic index. Since it will not spike blood sugar, diabetics can incorporate it into their diet more easily than sugar.
How To Use Monk Fruit Sweetener
Simply put, think of monk fruit sweetener as a one-for-one replacement for sugar in cooking, baking, or general sweetening. Because it is stable at high temperatures, monk fruit sweetener can be used in baked goods. However, just as sugar contributes to the structure and texture of foods, those baked with monk fruit sweetener may vary slightly in appearance.
At The Spice & Tea Exchange®, we are pleased to offer three varieties of monk fruit sweetener:
|Classic Monk Fruit Sweetener resembles and tastes comparable to basic white sugar||Golden Monk Fruit Sweetener is golden in color and reminiscent of light brown sugar.||Salted Caramel Monk Fruit Sweetener blends golden monk fruit with a decadent salted caramel flavor as a version of our best-selling sugar.|
Each variety offers the antioxidant properties that exist in monk fruit and is ready to be explored in your favorite foods, beverages, and in just about any recipe that you would use sugar.
However you choose to use these exciting sugar alternatives, we encourage you to share your recipes with us on Instagram @spiceandtea.