Yesterday we talked about an array of popular sugars currently on the market to sweeten up your coffee and other beverages. Today on the blog, we thought we’d take a look at the sweet smattering of sugar alternatives available to those who want to ‘sweeten the deal’ with some of their OG products. Here is a taste of the different types of popular sugar alternatives:
Stevia is a plant-based sweetener that is 300 times sweeter than sugar. It’s great in recipes where you want to add a little sweetness, but it is best to avoid using it in large quantities as it can have a bitter aftertaste. Because it is fructose-free, stevia is a popular sugar substitute for those trying to cut back on refined sugars or carbohydrates.
Coconut sugar is a sugar produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm. Coconut sugar has been used as a traditional sweetener for thousands of years in the South-East Asian regions where the coconut palm is in abundant supply.
Agave is a sugar substitute made from the same Mexican succulent from which tequila is made. Agave syrup is sweeter than honey, and tends to be less viscous. Most agave syrup comes from Mexico and South Africa.
Rice malt syrup is made from fermented cooked rice, and is a blend of complex carbohydrates, maltose and glucose. It’s 100 percent fructose free, which makes it the sweetener of choice for those trying to limit their fructose intake.
Maple syrup is usually made from the sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees, although it can also be made from other maple species. In cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter — the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in the spring. Maple trees can be tapped by boring holes into their trunks and collecting the exuded sap. The sap is processed by heating, to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup. Maple syrup was first collected and used by the indigenous peoples of North America. The practice was adopted by European settlers, who gradually refined production methods. Technological improvements in the 1970s further refined syrup processing. The Canadian province of Quebec is by far the largest producer, responsible for about three-quarters of the world’s output of maple syrup. It is now loved the world over as a topping on pancakes!
Honey is a naturally sweet syrup made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees (the genus Apis) is the one most commonly referred to, as it is the type of honey collected by most beekeepers and available commercially. Honey bees convert nectar into honey by a process of regurgitation and evaporation. They store it as a primary food source in wax honeycombs inside the beehive. Honey gets its sweetness from the monosaccharides fructose and glucose, and has about the same relative sweetness as granulated sugar. It has attractive chemical properties for baking and a distinctive flavor that leads some people to prefer it over sugar and other sweeteners. Honey is a popular sweetener of choice in many teas — we love a spoonful of it in our OG Organic Red Tea.