Tuesday, October 26, 2010


There is more to storing sugars than just storing sugar when you think about it! We have a sugar sensitivity, and so have explored many options when it comes to replacing “sugar” in many recipes. Here are some of the things we store and therefore use in our house, instead of sugar.
Maple Sugar and Syrup. I think these two sugars get overlooked way too much. I use them a lot in baking, they really add that rich flavor that we enjoy.
Agave Nectar has grown widely popular in cooking lately. It’s got a syrup consistency with a mild honey flavor. Very tasty in my humble opinion. We use this and maple syrup in our pancakes.
Honey is something you can either have or you can’t. Luckily, in our household, we can have it. And if you can, there are lots of health benefits from eating it. I could go into a whole section on just honey, but I think I’ll just say that ripe or “raw” honey (honey that has been removed from the hive by a beekeeper) has a very long shelf life and will not ferment if properly sealed. Also, it’s said to be a lot healthier for you, since it hasn’t been heated.
Xylitol. Aside from honey, this sweetener has probably the most benefits out of all popular sugar substitutes. There are a lot of myths about it out there, so I’ll give a basic outline of what it is, and what it’s been proven to do. Xylitol is actually a sugar alcohol. Basically, they take any fibrous plant like corn, birch, plums and extract the naturally occurring sugars. They have done many studies and found that it helps in dental care, osteoporosis, infection, safe for those with diabetes and hyperglycemia too. Now, the main drawback for most people is the taste. And of course the wonderful laxative affect. When trying it out, be sure to mix it with your current sugars gradually.
Stevia is just one of those cool foods. It’s actually a plant that you can grow yourself. With 300 times the sweetness as sugar, and it’s health benefits for hypertension and obesity, you may want to try it. You’ve probably already seen adds for Truvia, the name brand. I’ve tried it in my coffee, but haven’t baked with it yet.
Brown Sugar is of course one of those things that make oatmeal and certain baked goods so tasty. It’s always a good idea to have some of it on hand. Especially if you like to eat hot oatmeal or in our case quinoa, on chilly mornings.
Sugar: Raw, Beet, Cane Long story short, they say that raw sugar is much better for you. But for some reason, at least where I shop, it seems to be  more expensive. Go figure. If you can have refined sugar, be it cane or beet, make sure that you always have some on hand. It’s inexpensive and you can always just cut back on it as long as you don’t have an allergy to it.
Rice Syrup is in just about every gluten free bar I’ve ever run across. Since we have a rice allergy in our house, I have never used it. But, a lot of people who bake with rice syrup swear by it! You can find it all over anymore and it will store for a long time.

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