Kitchen Hint: Reduce added sugar in fruity desserts

by Catherine Haug, July 9, 2012

This latest kitchen hint comes from Corwyn, and it doesn’t involve artificial sweeteners.

If you have helpful kitchen hints, send them to me and I’ll publish them (if you request, I will not mention your name). See Topic: Kitchen Hints for all the hints submitted so far.

Reduce added sugar in fruity desserts

Recipes for rhubarb sauce, rhubarb pie, lemon curd and other desserts made with acidic fruits (well, OK, rhubarb is a vegetable, but it is used like a fruit) call for a lot of sugar. We’d all like to reduce our sugar consumption, but these desserts are hard to resist. Now you can have your ‘cake’ and eat it too. Read on…

Use 1 teaspoon of baking soda to replace 1/3 cup of sugar.  It works in acidic foods like rhubarb pie.  Corwyn assures me the results with his rhubarb are great and repeatable.  He’d like to double that in his next pie (replace 2/3 cup of sugar with 2 tsp baking soda), to see if he can discover a limit to the effectiveness of this trick.

Also he speculates that the substitution ratio will likely vary with different fruits. But if you like sweet treats, this is not only a potential money saver but also can reduce your sugar consumption as well.

Other ways to reduce sugar in desserts

These are by Cat:


You can grow this green plant in your garden.  Although it is a perennial plant in warmer climes, it may not make it through our winters, so be sure to bring your stevia plants indoors during the winter. You can dry its leaves and then grind or crush them, or you can make a liquid extract. Or buy stevia extract powders at stores like Withey’s or Mountain Valley Foods.

See my post Stevia: Growing, Harvesting, Drying, & Using this Sweetener for more.

Salt (preferably unrefined sea salt)

My mom used to prefer a sprinkling of salt instead of sugar on a half a grapefruit or a crescent of cantaloupe. But this trick works on other sour foods as well, such as lemon (think lemon, salt and tequila…), grapes, not-quite-ripe watermelon, and tart apples.

In fact, you can greatly reduce the amount of added sugar when making applesauce by replacing part of the sugar with salt. And of course, unrefined sea salt has more health benefits than commercial salt. Or try Corwyn’s trick and use baking soda.

Sweet dairy whey

Dehydrated whey from milk contains the moderately sweet lactose. While this is a type of sugar, it is converted by the good bugs in your gut into short-chain fatty acids (primarily lactic acid) rather than into its sugar components (glucose and galactose), so is not absorbed as sugar. Thus it doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes, and doesn’t count as sugar calories. However, if you have a lactose allergy, this is not the solution for you.

Substitute 1:1 for sugar in most recipes. You can replace up to 1/3 of the sugar in a recipe with sweet dairy whey. The major producer of this product is Bob’s Red Mill.

Crushed grapes 

The main sugar in grapes is glucose, which is not as sweet as table sugar, but it is still sweet. And while glucose is a sugar, when present in the whole food (the grape), it comes with other substances (like fiber) that slow down its absorption into your blood, reducing insulin spikes.

I don’t advise using grape juice, as that is devoid of fiber and other substances in the grape that slow down absorption. You may as well use table sugar instead.

One Response to “Kitchen Hint: Reduce added sugar in fruity desserts”

  1. Cristine Buchmann says:

    I always love stevia because it is a great substitute for sugar and it can be taken by diabetics. :’`'”

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