OMG. Was that the title I came up with? Obviously I was never destined for super stardom as a rapper. Yep, hanging up those pimp mamma boots up as we speak.
Moving right along! There has been widespread vilification of sugar. Sugars come from a variety of sources, not all of which are as bad for you as reported. Repeat after me. Refined sugar, bad; natural sugar, good.
Being a health conscious vegan, I’ve used a variety of sugars and sugar substitutes. These range from:
- Beet sugar
- Date sugar
- Maple sugar / syrup
- Agave nectar
- Coconut sugar
- Fructose fruit granules
- Irish Moss
- Brown rice syrup
- Yacon syrup
- Succanat or turbinado sugar
- Rapadura sugar
The ones in bold are said to be the ‘healthiest’ of the bunch.
Cyndi O’Meara (nutritionist, author and self-confessed health nut) of Changing Habits sent over a bag of Rapadura Sugar for me to use.
Rapadura sugar is sugar cane which has been juiced and dehydrated. Unlike refined sugar which has zilch nutritional value, rapadura retains cane juice’s vitamins and minerals. Containing a natural balance of sucrose, glucose and fructose, it’s known as a healthier sugar as its easier to digest and metabolise. Changing Habits’ rapadura is produced organically, free of chemicals or anti-caking agents.
The knowledgeable Cyndi further educates us about sugars: “’Raw’ sugar is not really raw – it has been heated at high temperatures and a lot of the minerals and vitamins are gone. It’s better than refined sugar because it has a little of the molasses still clinging to it. Some sugar is sold as ‘organic’ raw sugar, and people think this means it’s unrefined – all it really means is that it’s grown with organic agricultural methods, then refined as usual… the juice (molasses) has been mostly removed, and there’s not really much goodness in it.”
Hey, any nutritionist who believes chocolate can be good for you must know what they’re talking about!
I’d heard from friends that kefir grains and kombucha SCOBYs love rapadura. I replaced my usual raw sugar for this.. and holy moly! My kefir grains trebled in size.
Rapadura sugar is also easy to use in raw desserts which don’t need a binding agent. Like the raw blueberry crumble below! You can use a ratio of 1:1 when substituting rapadura for the regular white stuff.
Raw-padura Blueberry Crumble
2 cups walnuts (soaked the day before then dried)
1/4 tsp each: cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup Rapadura sugar
1-2 dates (chopped and soaked the night before)
1 cup pitted dates
1/3 cup water
2 cups frozen blueberries, thawed and drained
2 cups fresh blueberries (or more frozen blueberries, thawed and drained)
1 tbsp lemon juice
To make the crumble, combine all dry ingredients in the food processor. Blitz until fully ground, coarse and “crumbly”. Add the dates to the ‘crumbs’. Process until it comes together. Stir in sugar evenly, remove from food processor bowl and set aside.
To make the filling, combine dates and water in the food processor – hey presto, date paste!
Add 2 cups frozen blueberries, lemon juice and process until smooth. Now hand mix the fresh blueberries or additional 2 cups of frozen blueberries.
Assembly goes a lil something like this: spread approximately 1/3 of crumble in a pan or glass dish. Spread half the blueberry mixture on top, then layer the remaining crumble on top of the blueberries. Top with other half of the blueberry mixture. Garnish with coconut flakes or serve with cashew cream.
I prefer my blueberries still frozen as I love the crunchy sensation mixed with the crumbly oat / nut mixture.
Hope you’re all having a happy, healthy weekend!
Don’t limit yourself to blueberries. What other fruits would you use in a raw crumble?