Healthy Sugar Substitutes for Fall Canning
It’s true that sugar is sugar, and that honey is mostly sugar. But, if you’re choosing between the two from a health perspective, honey is the better choice, and here’s why:
Sugar is made of 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose, which is broken down very easily, leading to a surge of blood glucose. What your body doesn’t use right away gets stored as fat.
Honey is about 30 percent glucose and less than 40 percent fructose, plus about 20 other sugars (many of which are much more complex.) This means that your body expends more energy to break it all down to glucose. Therefore, you end up accumulating fewer calories from it. Honey also contains trace elements—stuff the bees picked up while going from plant to plant. And because honey doesn’t break down in nature, it doesn’t contain preservatives or other additives.
Lightly grease your measuring cup or spoon before measuring out your honey. It will slide off easily.
Honey is easier to work with at room temperature or slightly warmed. The colder it is the stickier and thicker it is.
If your honey crystallizes, simply place the honey jar in warm water and stir until the crystals dissolve, or place the honey container into near boiling water that has been removed from the heat.
Here are some things to remember when you substitute honey for sugar in your canning recipes.
Honey is NOT good for younger children. It can contain spores of a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, which can germinate in a baby’s immature digestive system and cause infant botulism, a rare but potentially fatal illness. Therefore, it is suggested that you not give honey to any child under 12 months old.
Honey is a stronger sweetener than sugar. 3/4 cups honey will equal 1 cup sugar. Adjust your measurements accordingly.
Honey Raspberry Jam
4 cups crushed raspberries (with or without seeds to your liking)
1 cup honey
3 tablespoons pectin for low sugar recipes
(You may omit the pectin and boil a little longer until it has condensed a bit. The jam wont be as firm but it’s still delicious!)
Crush cleaned raspberries with a masher and strain some of the seeds out if desired. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down and let simmer until jam becomes thicker, about 15-20 minutes (longer if no pectin).
While jam is simmering, place 4 empty 8 ounce jelly jars in a large pot of water and heat it to boiling. When jam is thickened, scrape off foam if any forms. Carefully remove jelly jars from water with a tongs and then pour hot jam into hot jelly jars leaving only ½” space from the top of the jar. With a clean damp cloth, wipe the rim of the jelly jars to remove any spilled jam.
Place lid on jar and twist on the ring so it is air tight. Place entire jar of jam back in the hot water (enough to cover jars by 1-2”) and boil for 15 minutes. Remove jars of jam from water and let sit out to cool. After 24 hours, check lids for proper seal. If any did not seal, simply keep these in the fridge for about a week or two. Sealed in jars will keep a LONG time.