Sugar photo courtesy of Chrisadas.[/caption]
Going vegan and adjusting to a plant-based diet can be quite the learning experience. While most of us know that being vegan involves avoiding meat, dairy & eggs, many don’t consider the other everyday ingredients that are derived from animal sources (such as honey which is made by bees), or which are processed using animal by-products.
Such is the case with refined white sugar, which is commonly filtered through animal-based charcoal during the refinement process. Even those of us with the best intentions of living a cruelty-free lifestyle sometimes don’t realize the unsavory reality of how some things are made. Thankfully, there are many delicious sweetener alternatives to refined sugar.
The following list is by no means complete. Help us expand it by letting us know what your favorite vegan sweetener alternatives are in the comments… your reply enters you to win free Earth Balance® products!
Labels to look for to ensure your sugar is vegan-friendly include: unrefined cane sugar, evaporated cane sugar, beet sugar, turbinado sugar and raw sugar.
Pure Maple Syrup: Maple syrup has a warm, luxurious flavor. Grade A is the lightest and mildest, Grade B has a nice balance that’s neither too bitter or too sweet, and Grade C is the strongest in. Grade B is suggested for most baking or topping purposes.
Agave Nectar: Agave is nearly twice as sweet as sugar and is often used to replace honey. Light agave has a mild flavor. Amber agave has a light caramel flavor, while dark agave has stronger caramel notes. Raw agave nectar also has a mild, neutral taste.
Brown Rice Syrup: This thick liquid is reminiscent of honey, but less sweet. It has a warm, almost butterscotch-like taste.
Barley Malt Syrup: This syrup is thick, dark and has a malty flavor. It can be bitter and it is reminiscent of molasses, but milder.
Molasses: A little goes a long way. Blackstrap molasses contains some B vitamins and minerals, but can be quite bitter. Light molasses (aka, Barbados molasses) is the sweetest.
Date Sugar: Made from dried and granulated dates, this sweetener is course & gritty, though quite tasty. It also lends brown flecks to desserts.
As we mentioned, this list could do with some additions…
Tell us what your preferred vegan sweeteners are in the comments below to be entered in our Everyday Giveaway. The winning comment will earn you coupons for free Earth Balance® products!