Concentrated fruit juices are a healthy alternative to refined white sugar in baking recipes, and they also keep baked goods moist for a longer period of time. Derived from fresh fruits, juices are simmered down to become a thick substance with a higher concentration of sugar than regular juice. Often, concentrates are pasteurized to increase their shelf life and may contain additives to enhance flavor or sweetness. Found in the supermarket frozen food aisle, common fruit concentrates include apple, orange and grape juice.
Use natural fruit concentrates to replace refined sugar when you want to avoid processed foods. Natural sugars, such as those found in the juice concentrate, have higher amounts of nutrients and release less rapidly into the bloodstream, unlike refined sugar. Specific juices also have medicinal benefits. Prune concentrate, for example, benefits the digestive system. In addition, fruit juices can produce a darker coloring in crusts, a less-crumbly texture and more moistness than products baked with white sugar.
Use fruit concentrate in any recipe that has sugar as an ingredient, such as chutney, ketchup or even pasta sauce. Use concentrates in place of simple syrup in mixed drinks or lemonade. Drizzle a concentrate over foods, such as pancakes or oatmeal, instead of sugar or syrup.
Substitute two parts fruit concentrate for every three parts of sugar called for in a recipe. For example, if 1 cup of sugar is called for, use 2/3 of a cup of concentrate instead. To make up for the increased moisture of a concentrate, reduce another liquid in the recipe. For example, if using 2/3 cup of fruit concentrate to replace sugar, reduce the milk or egg whites by 3 tablespoons, according to "Healthy and Delicious: 400 Professional Recipes."
Use a natural alternative -- such as honey or agave nectar -- if fruit concentrates are not available. Substitute these alternatives in the same amounts as a fruit concentrate. If using the concentrate as an alternative to sugar, substitute one part agave or honey for every two parts of sugar, and reduce the liquids in a recipe by one-quarter.
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- Michigan State University: Fruit versus sugar, a sweet benefit
- Healthy and Delicious: 400 Professional Recipes; Sandra Kapoor
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