If you’d like to make your own calorie-free syrup that flows like those from the supermarket, you can’t do it with cornstarch or fruit pectin. They do a great job thickening jams and puddings, but they produce syrups with the texture of thin pudding. Not exactly what you want for pancakes. Pancake syrup should have the viscosity of motor oil.
Until a couple of years ago there was no such thing as sugar-free syrup. Sugar was the magic ingredient that made liquids thick and elastic. Artificial sweeteners didn’t do it. Then, a year or so ago, zero-calorie syrups began appearing on food store shelves with cellulose gum listed on the labels right after flavorings..
If you study the ingredient list, you’ll quickly realize that all you need to make your own calorie-free syrup is water, sweetener, flavoring, and a thickener. The water must be pure, the sweetener artificial, the flavoring optional, and use cellulose gum as a thickener. Mix them all together in a blender and you’ve got a bottle of delicious syrup that looks, tastes, and flows just like Aunt Jemima’s, but without the slightest trace of calories.
But, is cellulose gum safe for human consumption? As a one-time public relations consultant for a Canadian cellulose company that manufactured toilet paper, I wondered about that myself, and started making enquiries.
A large importer of cellulose gum, alias CarboxyMethyl Cellulose, alias CMC, pointed out that the gum is a physiologically inert, water soluble plant-fiber that exceeds FDA standards for use in foods and pharmaceuticals. It is tasteless, colorless, harmless, and nutritionally neutral, and is used extensively in countless products, including textiles, paints, ceramics, pesticides, wall-paper paste, envelope sealants, charcoal briquettes, and fire-proof bricks. And, of course, food, drugs, and cosmetics.
Most importantly, for anyone wanting to make their own no-calorie syrups, cellulose gum makes it easy to vary the viscosity of your syrup from maple-syrup thin, to honey thick. For the family mechanic, think motor oil grades SAE 10, 20, 30, etc. This visco-versatility makes cellulose gum ideal for home-made calorie-free syrups, ice-cream, puddings, powdered drinks, and even soy sausage.
The problem is that cellulose gum is not generally available as a retail product and is only available in bulk to high-volume purchasers. Because I am an author and talk about cellulose gum in my new book, the No-diet Diet, one CMC importer agreed to sell me a ‘small’ fifty-pound bag of it – enough to make 6,500 sixteen ounce bottles of syrups. So I have lots of it in my larder and will happily give a free sample to anyone who sends me a stamped self-addressed envelope.
When you get your gum, put 12 ounces of clean cold water into your belnder or mixer and turn it on, to a slow grind. Add a cup of Splenda no-calorie sweeter, a teaspoon of orange flavoring, and a drop of red coloring. Remove the glass port on the lid if there is one, otherwise remove the lid itself. Pour a teaspoon of cellulose gum very, very, slowly into the churning liquid. When all of the powder has been added, let the mixing continue for another 30 seconds. The syrup should be quite thick by then. Pour it into a syrup container for table use.
Cellogen syrups are so easy and quick to make, you will probably find yourself experimenting with flavors. Some of them will be so good, you’ll want to make lots of it. However, don’t make too much at one time. If you do, you will end up with a refrigerator full of so much syrup you’ll have to open a retail store to get rid of it. You are better off making a small new batch every morning or two. The whole process takes less than two minutes and you can have a fresh new flavor before you have to turn the pancakes.
Cellogen is also excellent for fruit purees, puddings, frozen deserts, powdered instant beverages, and anything else that tastes a little watery and needs some extra body. A couple of good examples are hot cocoa made with skimmed milk instead of whole milk or cream, and fresh crushed strawberries sweetened with artificial sweetener. Cellogen makes them rich in texture without adding calories. water soluble bag manufacturers