A sweet melon
Monk fruit is a small greenish melon that is grown in southern China. It is also known by its Chinese name is ‘Luo Han Guo’ and the latin ‘Siraitia grosvenorii’.
Monk fruit would have remained in obscurity except for one remarkable characteristic. It contains plant chemicals called mogrosides that are 250x sweeter than sugar with zero calories!
The Chinese prize monk fruit so much that they’ve banned any export of the plants or seeds from China.
A healthy sweetener
A monk fruit sweetener is an excellent choice if you’re diabetic or on a ketogenic diet as it contains no calories and won’t raise your blood sugar levels.
Monk fruit is one of only two sweeteners that are plants. Monk fruit seems to be very safe and has been used for thousands of years.
A high quality monk fruit sweetener has virtually no aftertaste and studies have shown positive health benefits such as reduced inflammation, improved insulin sensitivity and reduced weight. Read this post for information on the health benefits of monk fruit.
Extraction methods dictate taste
Only about 1% of the monk fruit contains the sweet tasting mogrosides. Creating a monk fruit sweetener involves processing the fresh fruit to extract just these mogrosides.
If you’ve tried different monk fruit sweeteners you’ve probably noticed that some taste better than others. This is because different manufacturers use different methods to extract the mogrosides. The better the extraction process the closer a monk fruit sweetener will taste to sugar. Usually the more expensive monk fruit sweeteners taste better due to improved extraction methods.
It’s important when you’re purchasing a monk fruit sweetener that you confirm no toxic solvents such as hexane were used during extraction.
Buy USDA certified organic
I recommend purchasing only USDA certified organic monk fruit sweeteners that haven’t had any pesticides or solvents such as hexane used during production.
I would also recommend sourcing from an American or European company to minimize the risk of poor quality control or contamination.