By Idolina Maldonado
Humans have been using natural sweeteners, such as sugar and honey, for thousands of years. India has manufactured cane sugar granules for over two thousand years and Southeast Asia has used sugar cane juice long before that. In the 15th century, the use of sugar cane juice spread to the West Indies and Americas.
Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics depict the use of honey and the ancient Greeks used honey in foods as well as healing techniques. One important aspect of natural sweeteners is their glycemic index (GI). Glycemic Index is defined as a number representing the ability of a food to increase the level of glucose in the blood.
The Livestrong Foundation states that the lower the GI, the slower the body uses the carbohydrates as energy. The GI of honey varies depending on the type. Floral honeys have the lowest glycemic index ranging 32-44. Commercial blend honeys release energy faster and have a GI of 69. Pure raw honey, which is unpasteurized, unheated, and unprocessed, has a GI of 58. Although the nutrients in honey and sugar are similar, using lower GI honey would be more beneficial because it would require less to sweeten a food than sugar.
How to Substitute with Honey
- Use a darker honey for a sweeter and powerful flavor, and lighter honey for a subtle flavor.
- Lubricate the utensil or measuring device with oil or egg whites to prevent the honey from sticking.
- If the recipe calls for 1 cup or less of sugar, you can use equal measurements of honey. For more than 1 cup of sugar, use two-thirds or three-quarters honey.
- When using honey as the substitute to sugar, you must also reduce other liquids called for by one-quarter cup for every cup of honey used after the first cup.
- Be sure to use ¼ tsp. of baking soda for every cup of honey if baking soda is not already called for.
- Most recipes will also need to be baked at 25 degrees lower to prevent overbrowning or over baking.
What recipes do you incorporate honey into? Please feel free to share your recipes with us!