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Restless by nature, on a whim I blew off city living and my career, to try my hand at a simpler-slower life in rural Tasmania. It's going to be one heck of a learning curve..join me as I find my feet, fingers crossed!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sweeteners with a difference..

My pantry has a host of exciting sweet things. Ok, so I have a serious sweet tooth but I also love the fun of experimenting with unusual products.

My Top 10 sweeteners:

  1. Jaggery is unrefined concentrated cane juice without separation of the molasses and crystals. It can vary from golden to dark brown in colour. Available in Asian grocers.

  2. Hi test or Black strap Molasses

  3. Carob molasses is a thick syrup made by soaking milled carob pods in water and reducing the extracted liquid. With up to 80% protein, it contains Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium, Manganese, Barium, Copper, Nickel and the vitamins A, B, B2, B3, and D.

  4. Organic Rapadura is an unrefined sugar with a caramel flavour, fine grain & rich golden colour. It’s produced by evaporating the water from the organic sugar cane juice. With a high nutritional value it retains most of the natural vitamins and minerals.

  5. Brown rice or Barley Malt syrup

  6. Pure maple syrup

  7. Organic Coconut Sugar is produced from coconut palm blossoms. It is minimally processed, has not been filtered and has a rich toffee like flavour. High in minerals it’s a rich source of potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron. In addition to this it contains Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6. When compared to brown sugar, Coconut Sugar has twice the iron, four times the magnesium and over 10 times the amount of zinc! ( may also be called Palm sugar)

  8. Pear or Apple syrup

  9. Stevia extracts range from 150 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. The herb is nutrient rich, containing substantial amounts of calcium, phosphorous, as well as sodium, magnesium, zinc, rutin, Vitamin A & C.  Cooking with stevia can be challenging with it’s seriously sweet taste but lack of any real depth. It can have disastrous effects on baked products especially if substituting for sugar. This creates a large gap on texture therefore reducing bulk & quality of your final product.

  10. Raw Honey is at the bottom of my top ten, due to it’s inability to cope with heat. Honey is best never heated above blood temperature for any length of time. Once heated it becomes acidic & valuable nutrients & enzymes are lost. Honey is often heated commercially to give it a nice saleable texture but you can really taste the difference. For baking & other cooking I generally use an alternative sweetener. 

  11. Agave syrup has snuck in at last place, I’m still yet to try it….

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