If you’ve always wanted to substitute sugar with a healthy alternative like stevia powder but really don’t enjoy the aftertaste, this monk fruit juice concentrate might be for you. Monk fruit is a no-calorie sweetener. I’ve tried it in many different beverages, and by far it tastes best in coffee. I obtain my monk fruits from a good herbalist in China Town, but you can also buy them on online shops.
(If you have any allergies from fruit, there may be some possibilities that you are sensitive to monk fruit as well. As for me, I have sensitivities specifically with açaí and kumquat. Not monk fruit. If you have some concern, please speak to your doctor before using the recipe.)
Chinese reading: 罗汉果 (luó-hàn-guǒ)
Japanese reading: 羅漢果 (la-kan-ka)
9 monk fruits will make about 1.6 liters (1.69 quarts) concentrated juice.
Tools you need:
- 1 or 2 large pots (preferably flat and wide than a deep pot for a quicker evaporation)
- Middle size wire strainer with a long handle (to separate larger pieces of monk fruit bits)
- Medium and a large bowl (I use the medium and the largest pyrex glass bowl)
- Cotton or paper based tea bags to filter out small fruit fibers (many Japanese supermarkets carry these)
- Long utility tong (to support the tea bag stay open while filtering small bits of monk fruit fibers)
- large measuring cup with a spout (e.g. Pyrex USA 2 cups size)
- Electric kettle for boiling the water quickly
Step 1: Preparation
Wash the fruits thoroughly and break the whole fruit into small pieces with hands. Inside the fruits shell, separate the pieces if you can. Some fruit may not separate. You can leave them as chunkier pieces. Place them all including the outer skin in the largest pot in your kitchen.
Pour heated(kettle-boiled) water into the pot of monk fruit bits. Infuse the fruit immersed with boiled water. Pour more boiled water up to 1cm over the leveled pieces of fruit in the pot. Cook for 2 - 3 min.
Take the fruit bits out using a small deep wire strainer with a handle, and keep the fruit shells in a bowl (the picture here shows a colander over a small bowl but the colander is not necessary). After that, use a large ladle to transfer the liquid into a large bowl. It's ok if smaller shells and fibers go into the bowl.
Set up a filtering bowl, tea bag, and utility tong.
Put a utility tong into a tea filtering bag. Spread the utility tong out with your non-dominant hand in such a way that a tea filtering bag will not fall out. With your dominant hand, 1) hold the measuring cup and carefully pour the liquid into the tea bag.
Continue the above 1) procedure until all the liquid in the pot is finished. You may have to change the tea bag once the tea bag has accumulated a good amount of fruit fibers (you may not get a lot in the first or the 2nd batch, but towards the later batches you will get a lot of jelly-ish fibers.) If the tea bag has accumulated too much fibers, it will easily slip out. Careful not to drop it into the bowl! I have done it a couple of times.
When the fruit bits have become jelly-like and it only allows you to get small amount of juice, it's time to stop filtering.
While you are filtering the liquid with the tea bag, you can boil more water in the electric kettle, put back the monk fruit bits into the cooking pot and get extra juice out. Simply pour the boiled water into the pot of monk fruit bits and go through the procedure on Step 2 (cook for 2-3 min). Each time you boil the monk fruit bits, cook with less water as you will get less juice each time. You may stop making more juice once the color has turned to light brown.
Once you filtered the fibers out of the monk fruit juice, you can put the juice back into a clean large pot for cooking, evaporating and concentrating. Any additionally filtered juice can go into the juice during the evaporating procedure.
While you are still working on the fiber filtering part, I recommend that you start cooking the filtered juice once it reached enough amount so you can save time. If your filtered juice is too full for the size of your pot, you can add the uncooked portion later as the liquid cooks and the level of the liquid lowers.
Fortunately, this is the last procedure! Unfortunately, evaporating the juice takes a long time.
You can expect to work an hour per 3 monk fruits juice evaporation. So, with 9 monk fruits, you can expect to stand around in the kitchen for 2.5 - 3 hours. Keep a good ventilation to let the moisture out of the kitchen.
Every 5 to 10 minutes, check to see if the dark residue of the juice from evaporation is sticking on the side of the pot. Use a wooden spoon to take it off and mix it back into the juice.
Once the bubbles of the boiling juice became smaller, you will see more of the side of the pot residue so take it off as frequently as you can. Stir the liquid often to avoid sticking and burning.
When you like the consistency of the thickened liquid, stop cooking and let it cool.
Thickness varies from less concentrated to very concentrated - all the way to slightly burned.
The average amount of concentrated juice is about 1.6 liter(1.69 pints).
Transfer the liquid into 3 to 5 small 4-6 fl oz. freezable containers. I use canning glass jars on the right of the picture. This method preserves the monk fruit liquid for a long period of time in the freezer. Only keep a small glass bottle of monk fruit liquid that you will use immediately in the refrigerator. Use the refrigerated portion within a few weeks, although it may last longer. Since there is no preservatives added, the juice can easily get molded if kept in slightly warm places.