- On Air Program Guide
- A Blue View
- Brain Talk
- Cellar Notes
- Choral Arts Classics
- The Environment in Focus
- Gil Sandler’s Baltimore Stories
- Humanities Connection
- Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast
- Midday with Dan Rodricks
- The Morning Economic Report
- Radio Kitchen
- The Signal
- Take Five
- Your Maryland
- Public Commentary
- War of 1812 Stories
#1110 - Adam Borden and Alternative Sweeteners
You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.
November 13, 2012 #1110 Adam Borden and Alternative Sweeteners
Last week we talked about our tour of Domino Sugar, that waterfront institution in Baltimore. The tour was arranged by our good friend Adam Borden, the food scout. And we invited Adam to come on the show and fill us in on some of the alternatives that Domino and others are pursuing in the world of sweeteners. Here are his notes:
Why Alternative Natural Sweeteners?
Although scientists and food technologists have been researching sweeteners and sweetness for over 100 years, the use of natural sweeteners as an alternative to cane sugar has exploded in popularity among the food industry, health professionals, consumers and the media. The number of FDA-approved sweeteners has increased substantially in the last three decades. As a result, food product developers now have many more choices to meet the increasing demand for good-tasting products that control caloric, carbohydrate or sugar intake. Among the most popular natural sweeteners seen in various applications at the Fancy Food Show in Washington and the recent Natural Products Expo in Baltimore were:
• Honey: Honey is considered the first and most widespread sweetener used by humans. It is an organic, natural sugar alternative with no additives that is easily digested, adapts to all cooking processes and has an indefinite shelf-life. Flavors of honey vary based on the nectar source, so single varietals lend themselves to pairing with different foods. Georgia-based Savannah Bee Company has a honey line based on the sweetness and flavor profile to complement its intended use (tea, cheese or grilling). The tea honey is light and clean, offering only sweetness to the underlying tea, while the cheese honey is thicker and fruitier. The grilling honey is a darker honey blend that should withstand the heat of the grill.
Savannah Bee Co.
Cheese Honey, Tea Honey, Grill Honey (http://www.savannahbee.com/category/EveryDay-Honey/EDH0)
• Maple: Maple syrup was first collected and used by the indigenous peoples of North America. The practice was then adopted by European settlers, who gradually improved production methods. Until the 1800's, maple sugar was the primary sugar in the United States. Only when the cane sugar industry began in the Caribbean Islands in the 19th century did cane sugar begin to replace it. Maple syrup and sugar became delicacies rather than staples. However, since technological improvements in the 1970's further refined syrup processing, production has increased substantially. Maple syrup is quality graded according to the Canada, United States or Vermont scales based on its density and translucency. In the United States, syrup must be made almost entirely from maple sap to be labeled as "maple." Vermont’s Tonewood Maple sells a pure maple cube and maple flakes that can be used to shave or sprinkle over oatmeal, fruit or ice cream.
Maple Flakes and Maple Cube (http://www.tonewoodmaple.com/collections/solids)
• Maguey Sap: The cultivation of the maguey plant (agave salmiana) represents an ancient Mexican tradition begun by the Aztecs. To harvest the sap, the central part of the plant is removed before it starts to develop its flower. The center of the maguey is then scraped with a spoon-shaped instrument, and the sap that was to have nourished the flowering stalk slowly starts to flow. The juice is collected and then cooled to slow down fermentation, filtered and finally evaporated under high vacuum at room temperature. The nectar is concentrated at room temperature to preserve its nutritional properties. On average, seven liters of fresh juice are needed to produce 1 kilogram of concentrate. As the product is never cooked, it retains a high amount of soluble fiber – 1 teaspoon is equivalent to 14% of daily requirements – as well as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Maguey sap also slows sugar absorption in the blood stream, thus avoiding blood sugar spikes. Mexico-based Villa de Patos produces organic Maguey Sweet Sap for use on yogurt, fruit, in tea or pancakes.
Villa de Patos
Maguey Sweet Sap (http://villadepatos.com/en/products/maguey-sap/)
• Coconut Palm Sugar: Coconut sugar is produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm and has been used as a traditional sweetener for thousands of years in the South and South-East Asian regions. It is subtly sweet almost like brown sugar, but with a slight hint of caramel. Harvesting is essentially a two-step process: the coconut palm flower stalk is cut, and a bamboo receptacle is attached to collect the sap, about 4 L per tree per day. Once collected, the sap is then transferred into giant woks and placed over moderate heat to evaporate the moisture content. It is then further reduced to crystal, block or soft paste form, depending on the moisture content. Coconut palm Sugar is naturally low on the Glycemic Index. Big Tree Farms, based in Portland, OR, markets a line of granulated sweeteners made from coconut palm nectar in a variety of flavor profiles. These include a raw nectar/syrup and granulated “blonde” sugar by itself or with vanilla or cinnamon.
Big Tree Farms
Coconut Palm Nectar (http://www.bigtreefarmsstore.com/home.php)
• Stevia: Stevia is a genus of about 240 species of herbs and shrubs in the sunflower family, native to subtropical and tropical regions and grown predominantly in Brazil and China. It has been used indigenously as a sweetener for over 400 years. As a sweetener and sugar substitute, stevia's taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of cane sugar, and some of its extracts may have a licorice-like aftertaste at high concentrations. In the Raw Brands extracts, the sweetest part of the stevia plant leaf (Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni) using water which is then filtered, purified and spray-dried to create a powder format. This creates a sweetener that is 300 to 400 times sweeter than cane sugar. Because the stevia leaf extract is so pure and sweet, it requires blending with a bulking agent (dextrose) so that it can be measured, poured and used as a substitute for sugar or other caloric sweeteners. Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose and is attractive as a natural sweetener to people on carbohydrate-controlled diets.
Cumberland Packing Corp. (In the Raw Brands)
Stevia in the Raw (http://www.intheraw.com/products/stevia-in-the-raw)
• Monkfruit: Native to China and used since the 13th century, monkfruit is cultivated for its fruit and serves as an extracted sweetener. It is also used for remedies in traditional Chinese medicine. The fruit is high in vitamin C and has a low caloric content. The vine-ripened monk fruit are harvested from the orchards, pressed to release the juice then steeped in hot water to create a sweet solution. This liquid is filtered and dried to create a sweet, powder-like consistency. The extract, which is about 200-300 times sweeter than cane sugar, is blended with dextrose to create a balance of sweetness so that it can be measured, poured and used as a substitute for sugar or other caloric sweeteners. Cumberland Packing Corp., maker of In The Raw brands, produces an all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener made from monkfruit extract.
Cumberland Packing Corp. (In the Raw Brands)
Monkfruit in the Raw (http://www.intheraw.com/products/monk-fruit-in-the-raw)