Full Flavor, No Sugar

Flavor without sugar. It’s what diabetics want and it’s hard to find. Most “sugar-free” foods are loaded with either fat or fake sugars. And I don’t do well with fake sugars. (See the reviews on the 5-lb bag of sugar-free gummi bears on Amazon.)


So I’m after big, bold flavor. Spicy, deep, rich–foods with flavor is a diabetic’s Holy Grail.

Here’s a quick fix: dried orange peel. Yes, dried. Not chocolate covered, not sugar soaked, although I did love those for a long time, too.

It couldn’t be easier. Peel an orange. Remove some pith, although you don’t have to make yourself crazy getting it all off. Cut peel in strips. Put in 250 degrees Fahrenheit (120 C) oven on a parchment covered sheet pan.  After 10 minutes, toss. Leave in for another 10 minutes. Check to make sure the peel doesn’t turn too dark. Cool. They should be crispy.

Put in a ziplock back and run a rolling pin over them till they are dust. Or put them through a spice grinder or a small blender. Done!

  • How can you use orange peel dust?
  • Sprinkle on cappuccino instead of (or with) cinnamon
  • Sprinkle on unflavored, unsweetened yogurt
  • Dust over oatmeal and skip the sugar
  • Add to tea with the tea leaves before brewing
  • Add 1/2 tsp. to diabetic-friendly chewy almond bars to change the flavor completely
  • Melt Black and Green dark chocolate (never tastes sour or bitter) add chopped nuts and a bit of the orange dust. Yum.
  • Mix into Greek yogurt and use it as a dip for apples and pears
  • Stir into whipped cream cheese and fill celery sticks
  • Blend a bit with 2 tsp of vanilla and cut into a cup of whipped cream. Use as a topping over fresh fruit.

Be very careful–a little goes a long way. Use less than you think. It’s easier to add more. You can do the same thing with lemon, lime and grapefruit peel. The lemon and lime make a great addition to salad dressing and sauces you put over fish and poultry.

Quinn McDonald is married to Kent, a personal chef who cooks interesting food that tastes good. Eating his diabetic-friendly food helped her lose 65 pounds in a year.

25 thoughts on “Full Flavor, No Sugar

  1. Pingback: Easy Treat: Chocolate Covered Orange Peels | QuinnCreative

  2. All I can say is thank you. Thank you for sharing those reviews. I have not laughed so hard in a long time. I had to laugh quietly so I would not wake up my husband, I had tears I was laughing so hard. Oh, yeah the dried orange peel sounds interesting too, gonna have to try them.

    • The gummi bear reviews would be funny if I didn’t understand EXACTLY what happens because I have the same, ummmmm, sensitivity to sugar alcohols. Black and Green is a brand whose very dark chocolate tastes rich and winey, not bitter or sour. I love it.

  3. Me too! Me too!
    I checked out Kent’s website…lots of interesting recipes there. I’m all over the Chewy Almond Bars.
    thanks for the tip.

  4. How great! I don’t do well with fake sugars either and I was recently diagnosed pre-diabetic. I’m in a painfully slow process of learning how to eat and this sounds absolutely yummy, especially on my cappuccino in the morning! All the other ideas sound great as well, and believe it or not all of them I will be trying out!
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. This is a great idea Quinn, TFS! I use fresh peels all the time in my salad dressings but this sounds like a great way to have a dried version, readily available. Excellent! So many possibilities.

  6. This sounds amazing, Quinn. I’m not one for recipes usually because I hate to cook but this one sounds so useful, especially as I have a lemon tree and also because the hubs buys and eats lots of oranges….= lots ‘o peels.

  7. I had no idea! I will give it a try since my mother-in-law just sent the annual box of oranges from Florida and we have a ton of skins after squeezing the juice!

  8. Oh, I love those too! Have you tried dried strawberries or blueberries? If you like dried orange peel then I would think you would like these too. Though the only blueberries I have had are wild ones (picked from the forest and dried by ourselves) so I’m not sure how the cultivated ones will taste if dried. Worth a try though! BTW, freeze-dried strawberries are really dry and they melt in your mouth, but air-dried ones become slightly sticky and a bit like fudge or sticky toffee.

    • Trader Joe’s has lyophilized (freeze-dried) blueberries. I’ll have to try them. I’ve dried my own, domestic ones, and you are right, they are sort of like fruit leather. Love them, though, in any form.

Join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.