NATURAL SWEETENERS & their benefits
HONEY is almost as sweet as granulated white sugar, the difference is that honey has small amounts of B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorous. It also acts as a potent bacteria killer. 1 tbsp. contains just less than 2% of the recommended daily intake of vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Generally speaking; the darker the honey, the higher its antioxidant value. A cautionary note from The National Honey Board, along with other health organizations, recommends that you never feed honey to children less than one year of age because most unpasteurized honeys contain yeasts from nectar and pollen that can ferment.
BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES is a thick syrup by-product of sugar refining in which the sucrose (sugar) is separated from the liquid and nutrient from the raw cane plant. Several grades of molasses are available but blackstrap contains the least sugar and the most nutrients: iron, 6 of the B vitamins,
calcium, phosphorous and potassium.
MAPLE SYRUP - The sap from sugar maples, red maples, and silver maples is collected in the spring when it is flowing from the roots back into the aerial parts of the tree to provide energy for growth. The sap is 95-97% water, but when it is boiled down, a thick, sweet syrup composed of 65% sucrose is left behind. The syrup also contains organic acids, minerals (mainly potassium and calcium) and traces of amino acids and vitamins. 1/4 cup of maple syrup provides 6% of the recommended daily intake of calcium and thiamin and 2% of magnesium and riboflavin.
There are different maple syrup grades, just as there are different types of sugar. Sap tapped at the beginning of the harvest season is generally clearer and lighter in taste. As the season advances, maple syrup becomes darker and more caramelized in flavor. Maple syrup is categorized and graded according to color, clarity, density and strength of maple flavour.
Grade A maple syrup is intended for everyday use and can easily be found in grocery stores. Grade A syrup is further divided into Grade A Light Amber, Medium Amber and Dark Amber, which are all much lighter in color and intensity than Grade B maple syrup. Grade A Light works well in salad vinaigrettes, whereas Grade A Medium and Dark taste delicious pancakes.
Sources: The Smoothies Bible by Pat Crocker, pure canada maple.com