Can we really live without sugar?
Whether you are a chef or not you will have used this sugar commodity more than a thousand times already. Whether it be to bake cakes, biscuits, tarts and sponges, to use to make a pickle, a jam or a curd, to add a little body to a jus or gravy to enhance its flavour or aid in its colour or simply to add it to cut through the acidity of red wine when making sauces.
And not forgetting when making that all so special cup of brew we love, whether it be tea or coffee first thing in the morning to get you going or a pick me up later in the day. If you are a chef like me just leaving it on the side of the solid top stove, because when you are over run with work in the kitchen you get so busy that you forget it and to take a swig every now and then is a big deal.
Because sugar is so widely used, the question is can we really go without it as an ingredient? Will the world end if we didn’t have it? Will cakes and bread stop being made? Will it be the end of beer? Realistically I don’t think that we can totally do without sugar but finding a healthier alternative is definitely a step in the right direction for health reasons and possibly to prolong life.
The alternative that I have found after having tried a few different types of sweeteners comes from a natural source from the plant called Stevia.
In my research about Stevia I have learned that it originally came from Brazil & Paraguay in South America, and comes from the leaves of a plant called Stevia Rebaudiana which is a member of the chrysanthemum family.
I would say that the benefits of replacing sugar with Stevia are that Stevia has almost no calories and so helps with weight control and other issues linked to obesity like type two diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In addition obesity has been linked to certain types of cancers.
For more information about Stevia and its origins, follow this link : https://bit.ly/2Tow3OF
Recipes with Stevia
Below you will find a couple of recipes for you to have a go at but in the link above you will find quite a lot more. My advice for baking and cooking using Stevia is to start gently, add small amounts, and test and by substituting 35 grams of powdered Stevia in replacement of 100 grams of sugar.
• 1 roll of puff pastry rolled out
• 4 to 5, apples (not too acid)
• Replace 25 grams of sugar for 9 grams of Stevia powder
• 50g butter
Peel the apples and remove the core. Cut into 8 wedges. Melt the butter with Stevia in a thick bottom pan and then add apples and stir. On a baking tray lined with grease proof paper place the apple mix in circles and cover with the pre-cut discs of puff pastry
Bake 15-20 minutes in the oven at 180°, allow cooling on a wire rack and once cooled remove from the tray and use as required.
Gingerbread cookies with Stevia
• 80 grams flour
• 7 grams Stevia
• Pinch of salt
• 1 tbsp. mixed spice
• 3 tablespoons buttermilk
• 5 tablespoons sunflower oil
• 10 g butter
Preheat the oven to 170° C. Put the flour, Stevia, salt and mixed spice into a bowl and let the butter soften briefly in the microwave. Stir in the buttermilk and oil with the butter into the flour.
Stir well and then knead into a ball. Optionally, add a little flour. Roll small balls between your hands and press them lightly on a baking sheet. Bake the gingerbread cookies in preheated oven at 170° C for 20 minutes.
If you have taken your time to read my trilogy of blogs about sugar and Stevia then I thank you. I hope you have enjoyed them and it has helped you in some way and maybe inspired you to try Stevia in your daily diet.