Sugar……ah, honey, honey. Sugar and honey are so often used interchangeably in recipes, but while both are sweeteners they are different.
Honey is a natural sweetener created by honey bees from the nectar they collect from flowers. There’s nothing else added and a gentle heating is the only processing honey undergoes. Honey’s flavor is more than just sweet. Depending on the variety, season and the type of flower the nectar was extracted from the flavor can range from subtle and mild to floral and strong. There are more than 300 varieties of honey produced in the United States alone. Honey found in most grocery stores is typically a blend that’s produced to create a consistent product. I love showcasing honey’s delicious flavor in these Honey Almond Ice Cream Truffles.
Sugar is made from sugar cane, a large, tropical grass, and from the root of the sugar beet. The cane or beet are crushed and the juices that result are mixed with water, boiled and then crystallized. The crystallized sugar is raw sugar. The raw sugar is steamed to remove any impurities that remain and the resulting sugar is turbinado (or demerara) sugar. Turbinado sugar is heated, filtered and chemicals are used to purify it further. This clear liquid sugar is recrystallized again to produce granulated sugar. You can learn more about the many faces of sugar in my Sugar 101 post.
For more honey tips and substitution suggestions, check out this worksheet from The National Honey Board.