During the fall, a friend of ours mentioned that they used honey as their primary means of sweetening their foods, especially homemade breads. They have set up a bee hive and hope to have some honey for harvest in late summer/early fall. We recently asked for some advice about how to use honey in recipes, specifically the ratio of honey to sugar. The ratio in small quantities (under a half cup) is 1 to 1. In larger quantities, one has to take into consideration the liquid content of the honey, and adjust the recipe accordingly, decreasing the honey to sugar ratio.
After gaining this knowledge, I was excited by the idea of utilizing a more natural sweetener and decided to check it out.
According to the National Honey Board, “Research has shown that unlike most other sweeteners, honey contains small amounts of a wide array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. Honey, a rich source of carbohydrates, provides a quick source of energy. Honey's unique composition makes it an effective antimicrobial agent, useful for treating minor burns and scrapes, and for aiding the treatment of sore throats and other bacterial infections.”
Another natural option offered by our friends was sucanat. Sucanat is the most natural form of sugar. This natural sweetener is derived from the juice squeezed from sugar cane that is then evaporated, removing the water, and leaving sucanat. No additional refining is necessary. Sucanat has a light molasses flavor and is decribed as a great substitute for brown sugar.
Sugar, on the other hand, is a “refined” sugar, going through several steps resulting in the white table sugar many of us have become accustomed to.
I am hoping to use more honey and experiment with sucanat as alternative means of sweetening the homemade foods I make for my family. There are several online distributors of raw honey and sucanat that I hope to look into in the near future.