Guide to Natural Sweeteners

Barley Malt Syrup is made from whole barley which is sprouted to break down some of the carbohydrate into the simple sugar maltose. It is then ground and heated to make a thick syrup. It is 65 percent maltose and 30 percent complex carbohydrate. Barley malt is a good substitute for brown sugar. It is delicious in hot breakfast cereals, cookies, breads, muffins, and recipes using carob.

Brown Rice Syrup is made from fermented brown rice and sprouted whole barley. Like barley malt, it is ground and heated to make a thick syrup. It is 50 percent maltose and 37 percent complex carbohydrate. Because of its mild taste, it can be used as a substitute for white or brown sugar.

Fruit Concentrate/Sweetener includes frozen juice concentrates such as grape or apple juice and refrigerated jars of fruit concentrates which are typically blends of juices such as peach, pear, and pineapple juice. Fruit concentrates are thicker than fruit juice concentrates and are made by cooking whole fruits at very low temperatures until they have been reduced to a thick syrup. These are a combination of the simple sugars, fructose, glucose, and sucrose. Fruit sweeteners work well in most baked goods except white cakes and recipes using chocolate. They are excellent for sweetening homemade lemonade, hot breakfast cereals, and plain yogurt.

Granulated Brown Rice Sweeteners are made from dried brown rice syrup or a combination of dried brown rice syrup and powdered grape juice concentrate. They contain 33 percent or more complex carbohydrate. Brown rice sweetners have a very mild flavor and can be used to replace white or brown sugar in baked goods. Because of their light brown color, you may not want to use them in white cakes, white frostings, and meringues.

Granulated Cain Juice is made from organically grown sugar cane juice that has been filtered and dehydrated. It`s a simple sugar that tastes much like brown or turbinado sugar; however, it`s less refined and contains more vitamins and minerals. Granulated cane juice can be used as a substitute for both white and brown sugar, but due to its brown color, you may not want to use them in white cakes, white frostings, and meringues.

Honey is a mixture of acid secretions from the glands of honeybees and nectar from flowers. Although honey is a natural sweetener, it is considered a refined sugar as the sucrose is broken down into glucose and fructose while in the bee`s stomach. It is sweeter and higher in calories than refined white sugar, so use 3/4 cup or less of honey to replace one cup of sugar (see chart, left). Honey does contain some B vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. However, the enzymes are generally destroyed by high heat causing the honey to lose nutritional properties when used in baking. Honey is a nice sweetener in hot breakfast cereals, breads, muffins, cakes, and cookies. It is especially tasty in plain yogurt.

Maple Syrup is made from the sap of sugar maple trees. Thirty‚five to 50 gallons of sap are boiled to produce one gallon of maple syrup. Grade A maple syrup has a lighter color and flavor than Grade B, which is darker with a stronger flavor. It is 65 percent sucrose. It is an excellent sweetener in apple and pumpkin pie. Maple syrup also works well in carrot and spice cakes, muffins, and quick breads.

Molasses is a by‚product of the refined white, brown, and turbinado sugars. Sweet molasses or light molasses is the liquid left after the first extraction of sugar crystals. Blackstrap molasses is the liquid left after the last extraction of sugar crystals, and has a stronger, bittersweet flavor and is richer in potassium, calcium, iron, and B‚vitamins than sweet molasses. Both sweet molasses and blackstrap molasses are 70 percent sucrose. Sweet molasses is an excellent substitute for brown sugar. It adds a very nice flavor to baked beans, breads, muffins, gingerbread, and cookies.

Substituting One Sweetener For Another

 The granulated brown rice and cane juice sweetners are roughly equal in sweetness to refined white, brown, or turbinado sugar and can be substituted on a cup for cup basis without changing t anything else in the recipe.

 When you substitute a liquid sweetener for a dry one or vice versa, you will have to adjust the recipe to end up with the right batter consistency. The chart (below) will help you modify your recipes when using natural sweeteners.


To replace 1 cup dry sweetener with 1 cup liquid sweetener: reduce another liquid by 1/3 cup or add 4-5 tablespoons flour. To replace 1 cup dry

sweetener with 3/4 cup honey: reduce another liquid by 1/4 cup or add 1/3 cup flour.

To replace 1 cup liquid sweetener with 1 cup dry sweetener: add 1/3 cup water.

To replace 1 cup liquid sweetener with 3/4 cup honey: add 1/4 cup water. Note: When using thick liquid sweeteners, heat the jar in hot water for five minutes to make pouring easier and spray measuring cups with vegetable spray to prevent sticking.

Written by: John Buscher, MSN. From Veggie Life Magazine. John Buscher, MSN resides in Colorado and recently finished a cookbook and nutrition guide titled Ditch the Fat, Save the Flavor.

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