2018 Food Trends Pick No. 1 ~ Coconut Sugar

2018 is full of promise, hope and…food trends.  I know, you thought I was going to say something profound but number three got you- didn’t it? We have been obsessing a bit over the endless lists of the food trends for 2018 and thought we’d start a little segment we are calling 2018 food trends pick no….. Number one on our list is coconut sugar.

On the radar of home bakers and professional chefs for a few years, it is now showing up in kitchens everywhere.  Produced from the sap of flower buds coming from the stems of coconut palms, it is touted as a natural alternative to refined sugars.  In our area it was not easy to find.  After we had nearly given up we stumbled upon a bag, much by chance, in the Bob’s Redmill section of our market.  Redmill says “it is a wholesome alternative sweetener that can be used in many recipes as a one-to-one replacement for white sugar or brown sugar.”

While we’ve yet to try it in baked goods, we loved it in the sauce & marinade we made for our sous-vide cooked pork loin last night.  We started with a pork loin which we put into a vacuum packed bag with coconut sugar, Chinese five spice, star anise, thyme, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper and a little sherry.  We cooked it with our Anova circulator for 1.5 hours at 138 f. and then we quickly seared it when it was done.  Served in a bowl with rice and sliced green beans, the final bowl was drizzled with the marinade it had cooked in.  This made for a yummy warm dinner which our entire family loved.

We find that pork loins lend themselves well to Asian flavors.  The coconut sugar was undetectable, but we are looking forward to trying it out in a baking recipe soon.  What are your favorite ways to incorporate sugar alternatives into your cooking?