The search for this answer began years ago when I was first experimenting with pie.
I was living on an organic apple orchard when I began to conduct some research into the history of adding sugar to the foods we make. I was interested in making a wholesome pie that is good for you.
Most of us are aware of the health benefits that vegetables and fruits contain, and yes they contain natural sugar too. So what has happened? Why have we created a refined product called table sugar that has little to no nutritional value? And why do we then add large amounts of this that only mask the fruits flavor?
The only real reason I could find for culinary purposes is that the product is white (won’t discolor food) and it assimilates easily. Also if you are using ingredients that lack quality, I guess you can trick the consumer by adding large amounts of white sugar.
So if we can get around these reasons, could we use a less refined product?
The answer is YES!!
And it's named: Dehydrated Whole Sugar Cane
Just check out these amazing nutritional facts on it!
* 500-1000 times more Potassium than white sugar
* 10 times more Calcium than white sugar
* 75 times more Phosphorus and Magnesium than white sugar
It contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and niacin which are all eliminated from white sugar.
Now it is important that you understand that these nutritional facts ONLY pertain to the specific Dehydrated Whole Sugar Cane. And it is ONLY as good as the manufacturer. Some companies are putting out inferior products. Here is a list of sugars to avoid using muscovado, turbinado, demerara, evaporated cane juice, evaporated cane sugar, sugar in the raw, and organic raw sugar. They are NOT Dehydrated Whole Sugar Cane.
There are United States companies that are selling and labeling ‘Raw’ Sugar and misleading the public.
I use raw, unfiltered honey for recipes that discoloring is an issue.
It is important to keep in mind that there is still a limit to how much sugar to intake.
According to Dr. Nancy Appleton, Ph.D., and author, in her extensive research on sugar, she uncovered that for healthy individuals the threshold of added sugar is two teaspoons at one time, totaling no more than six teaspoons a day.
I took all this information into consideration when I was developing my recipes.
I decided to use a whole cane sugar but add as little as possible. The goal was to work with the natural flavors present in the fruit. I would pick fruit that had qualities that would lend itself to baking. I likened it to how winemakers choose grapes. Many lifeless pies use white sugar and seasonings to mask that the fruit has no real flavor.
To my amazement, many customers were unaware of how much less sugar we were using. All they knew was that they LOVED THE PIE!!!
In the chart below, I display the sugar amounts of both Master Pie Making Wild Blueberry Pie Recipe and Williams-Sonoma Blueberry Pie Recipe.
Comparison of Blueberry Pie Recipes
Recommended healthy single serving amount of added sugar * (2 teaspoons)
Master Pie Making uses two teaspoons of whole sugar cane per slice; this does not exceed recommendations. Using wild blueberries helps to naturally increase the sugar content because they are more flavorful and naturally sweeter.
Williams-Sonoma uses over six teaspoons of white sugar per slice of pie. That is MORE THAN 3 TIMES the recommended amount by Dr. Appleton for a healthy individual per serving, per day.
Pounds of Sugar Consumed Per Year Per person
100 years ago the average person consumed 4 pounds of added sugar a year. Now that number has grown to 150 pounds a year, that includes other sugars like high fructose corn syrup (that is linked to possibly causing the body to become insulin resistance and lead to diabetes).
My pies average about 1/4 cup of whole cane sugar per pie; that is the same amount of sugar that is in most 12oz cans of soda. Think about that; you would have to eat an entire pie to equal one can of soda! And the sugar I recommend has all the nutritional benefits we talked about earlier.
Well, I hope that helps explain why I am passionate about what type of sugar is used and how much.