Sugar makes life sweet, but too much can wreak havoc on your health. The typical Western diet is heavy on added sugars — sugar added to food and beverages to improve taste and enhance shelf-life. Added sugars have little nutritional value and they increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. But even if you avoid cookies and cakes, added sugar shows up in foods like low-fat yogurt, breakfast cereal, sports drinks — even ketchup! Sugar substitutes like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin come with health risks, too.
Don’t despair, cutting back on processed sugar doesn’t mean a taste-free, joyless existence.
You can limit the amount of added sugars you consume by cooking meals at home, where you control what goes into your meal. Making whole-food fruit syrup made from scratch is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding unhealthy sugars.
What is Whole-Food Fruit Syrup?
Whole-food fruit syrup is fresh fruit that’s been pureed, then cooked to a thick liquid. The Vitamix Culinary Team recipe showcases the natural sweetness of dates. Date syrup’s fruity, caramel taste works great as a base that can be easily customized with fresh fruit. This healthier alternative to processed sugar is additive free and packed with antioxidants, fiber, and heart-healthy minerals like potassium and magnesium. It’s perfect for drizzling on baked goods and desserts, topping oatmeal and yogurt, or adding to sauces and marinades. It might just be the hardest working sweetener in your kitchen.
How to Make Whole-Food Fruit Syrup
3/4 cup (180ml) water
|4-6 each (60g) pitted dates
2 cups of any of the following:
Cubed pineapple (300g)
Cubed apples (250g)
1 cinnamon stick
1-2 slivers ginger, with peel
1 small stalk lemongrass
1 whole vanilla bean
1/2 lemon (30g), peeled
1/2 orange (60g), peeled
1 teaspoon maple extract
Place water, dates, any two cups of fruit into the Vitamix container and secure the lid.
Get creative with the fruit add-ins; try strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, apples, pineapples, or whatever fruits are in season. Add spices to your fruit for fun flavor combos. Here are some our palate-pleasing favorites:
Blueberry and cinnamon
Gooseberry, lemon, and ginger
Pineapple and lemongrass
Raspberry, orange, and vanilla
Blackberry, maple, and ginger
Start the blender on its lowest speed, then quickly increase to its highest speed. Blend for 1 minute or until consistency is smooth. Be sure to pit stone fruits like apricots and peaches. Don’t worry about seeds; the blending process pulverizes them, releasing additional nutrients.
Pour into a medium sauce pot and simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until reduced by a third. Simmering over medium heat intensifies the flavors and extends shelf life.
Turn heat off and let cool for 10 minutes before pouring into a container, then place into refrigerator. Stored properly, the fruit syrup can last up to ten days in the fridge or six months in the freezer.
Creating your own fruit syrup at home opens up a world of culinary possibilities. And with a healthier alternative to refined sugar, you can treat yourself without the guilt. Check out these recipes and discover what you can make with fresh fruit, sweet dates, and the power of your Vitamix.