Sugar gets a bad rap. It’s blamed for many of our countries health issues, but these claims are misleading. The US Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends we consume less than 10 percent of our calories come from added sugars. That’s about 150-200 calories a day (which is visually about 9-12 teaspoons of sugar). The best way to meet this goal is to limit or avoid sugary drinks (sodas, sport drinks, smoothies, shakes, sweet coffeehouse drinks), and monitor how many sweets you consume (candy, dessert, baked goods).
A Culinary Ingredient in Baking and Cooking
There are many kitchen pantry staples for sweetening foods or baking. Honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, coconut sugar, and granular table sugar are all examples of caloric sweeteners. You could also opt for some low-calorie or no-calorie sweeteners, however these aren’t always preferable for baking and cooking.
Keep in mind, that all of the caloric sweeteners are a form of sugar. Substituting a cup of maple syrup for a cup of table sugar does nothing to lower your sugar intake. In fact, maple syrup is slightly higher in sugar that table sugar.
Comparing Sugar to Maple Syrup
When you think you are doing yourself a favor by subbing maple syrup for granular sugar, think again. One cup of pure maple syrup has 214 grams of sugar. A cup of sugar has 200 grams. Maple syrup is delicious, but it is very expensive. I prefer to use it for pancakes or waffles. Granular sugar is much more economical and works well in baked goods and recipes like this cranberry sauce.
By reducing the sugar in my recipe to 1/2 cup, I’m lowering that to 100 grams for an 8-serving recipe. A quarter-cup serving of this Reduced Sugar Cranberry Sauce is over 50% lower in sugar than a traditional recipe, even if you switched out the sugar with maple syrup.
Reduced Sugar Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- 1 12-ounce bag Fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup granular sugar
- 1 orange
- 1/4 tsp all spice or cinnamon optional
- Rinse the cranberries then pour into a medium saucepan
- Zest the orange into a small cup, or you can zest it right over the cranberries
- Cut the orange in half, and squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. Add enough water to make 1/2 cup liquid.
- Pour the sugar, orange zest, and liquid into the cranberries. Heat on medium-low heat and stir for 1-2 minutes until sugar begins to melt. Stir in the optional spices. Once berries begin to crack, cover and reduce heat to low setting. Watch the pan closely and stir occasionally.
- Once cool, transfer to a glass storage dish. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.