Enjoying sugar-free foods means finding other ingredients to sweeten the dishes we love. There are a multitude of alternative sweeteners available. Their suitability varies according to what you are making (eg.: baked goods, salad dressing, smoothie) and how you are preparing it (eg: roasting, baking, serving it raw.) Lucuma powder is an alternative sweetener that is fast becoming a popular substitute for sugar in North America.
Lucuma powder is made from the subtropical fruit of the Pouteria lucuma tree that is native to Peru, Ecuador, and Chile where it is sometimes eaten raw. The Incas relied on lucuma fruit as a natural sweetener, which is why it is often referred to as "Inca’s Gold".
Once processed, the lucuma fruit provides a flour-like textured powder that is quite sweet and tastes somewhat like maple or caramel. The fruit’s pulp is dehydrated to produce the powder. No sugar is added to the powder, making it a terrific sugar-free food.
Nutrition-wise, this is a very good alternative sweetener to refined white sugar. It is a source of fiber and complex carbohydrates, as well as vitamins such as niacin and beta-carotene
Lucuma powder can be used when baking and preparing desserts, providing sugar-free sweetness to cookies, homemade ice cream or cakes. In Chile, lucuma ice cream is a very popular flavor, even more so than chocolate, vanilla or strawberry. This is a lovely South American-style recipe for Lucuma Ice Cream Cupcakes that is free of refined white sugar. Note that dates are used for additional sweetness.
It is not difficult to switch out sugar in your recipes. Try this ratio. When substituting lucuma powder for sugar, begin by using 2 Tablespoons of lucuma powder for every 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Add more if you find that it is not sweet enough.
Lucuma is also an excellent sweetener to blend into healthy treats such as smoothies or energy bars. Try this yummy lucuma smoothie for a sweet, sugar-free treat or breakfast. I’ve made sure to include greens for iron, bananas for potassium and berries for antioxidants. If you peel and freeze your bananas before hand you’ll find that they make for a very rich, creamy smoothie.
- Place almond milk or water into a blender.
- Add all other ingredients. Blend until smooth.
- Enjoy right away. Smoothies are best consumed when they are made, rather than allowing them to sit or refrigerate.