Honey and sorghum syrup are two sweeteners with distinct characteristics and histories. Honey, a viscous substance produced by bees, is derived from the sugary secretions of plants. Sorghum syrup, resembling molasses, is crafted from sorghum cane and was once a beloved Southern sweetener. As refined sugar gained popularity, sorghum syrup became less prevalent, though it remains an occasionally sought-after option. Both have unique attributes, making choosing between them a matter of personal taste. Is one better than the other? Today, we will find out!
Comparing Sorghum Syrup vs Honey
|Raw and unpasteurized
|Honey, some pollens
|Pantry shelf life (unopened/sealed)
|2 plus years
|Best for baking
|Cookies, peach cobbler, marinated chicken
|Flaky, sweet pastries and baked goods
Differences Between Sorghum Syrup And Honey
Honey, produced by bees, is a natural and versatile sweetener known for its various health benefits. Bees collect nectar from different flowers, resulting in a wide variety of honey types based on the pollen source. It contains sugars like fructose and glucose, along with water, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Honey not only acts as a natural sweetener but is also recognized for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Many people use honey orally for cough relief and topically to promote wound healing.
Sorghum syrup is derived by extracting the juice from sorghum stalks and boiling it to achieve the desired consistency. It primarily consists of sucrose, making it an alternative energy source that is renewable and sustainable. Sorghum syrup contains small amounts of essential minerals and provides a unique earthy flavor to various culinary applications. It can be used as a marinade, spread, or incorporated into baked goods like cobblers, offering a distinct taste experience.
Taste and Culinary Uses
Honey, with its multifaceted flavor, goes beyond mere sweetness. Depending on the nectar source, honey can exhibit a range of notes, from floral and fruity to smoky or earthy. This diverse palette of flavors adds depth and complexity to any dish where honey is used. In the culinary realm, honey proves to be a versatile ingredient, enhancing both sweet and savory creations. Whether enriching casseroles, sauces, or dressings, honey lends a subtle and unique taste.
Sorghum syrup’s taste is described as earthy, woody, and even smoky, which can vary depending on the sorghum plant strain and the production process. Unlike other sweeteners, sorghum syrup offers a buttery complexity that can be enjoyed in various applications. Drizzle it over baked apples or hot cornbread, or use it as a unique twist in caramel macchiatos. With its versatility, sorghum syrup can effortlessly replace corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, or molasses in recipes, offering a delightful alternative.
Are Sorghum Syrup and Honey Substitutes for Each Other?
Using a simple one-to-one ratio, you can easily substitute sorghum for honey in almost any recipe. The only exceptions are cookie and cake recipes that call for baking powder, as the substitution may pose challenges. However, there should be no issues if a recipe calls for baking soda.
Nutritional Profile And Health Benefits
Honey (1 tbsp.):
- Calories: 60
- Total carbs: 17 g
- Sugars: 17 g
- GI: 58
Sorghum syrup (2 tbsp.)
- Calories: 120
- Total Carbs: 31g
- Sugars: 31g
- Protein: V
- Glycemic Index (GI): 50
Both honey and sorghum syrup offer potential health benefits. Honey possesses phytochemical, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties, making it a potentially therapeutic choice for disease treatment. Sorghum syrup is a natural source of antioxidants as well. Consuming sorghum syrup may potentially lower the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and certain neurological disorders. An additional advantage is that sorghum syrup is naturally gluten-free and non-GMO.
When it comes to dietary preferences, honey falls into a gray area. While it is not considered vegan due to its origin and production process involving bees, it aligns well with a paleo lifestyle as a wholesome food option. Raw honey, in its unadulterated form, is favored in paleo-oriented diets, as it is untouched by heat processing. However, if you are following a paleo diet, be cautious, as pasteurized honey may not be as compatible.
For those on a keto diet, honey should be used sparingly. Its natural sweetness and high sugar content can potentially disrupt ketosis, which is a central aspect of the keto lifestyle. Sorghum syrup is a vegan alternative to honey, but it is unsuitable for a keto diet due to its high glycemic index.
If you are dedicated to the Whole30 program, it is necessary to eliminate all sweeteners, including honey, from your diet. Whole30 encourages a complete cut-out of any form of added sweeteners to promote the consumption of whole, unprocessed foods for the duration of the program. Unfortunately, sorghum syrup is not recognized as a suitable sweetener for the Whole30 diet either.
How to Store Sorghum Syrup and Honey
To maintain the quality of honey, place it in a sealed, airtight glass jar to prevent exposure to air when not in use. Avoid storing honey in non-food plastic or metal containers, as they can cause honey oxidation. For optimal storage of 100% pure sorghum syrup, treat it similarly to honey by keeping it in a kitchen cabinet. In the event that sorghum syrup crystallizes, gently heat the jar by placing it in a pot of warm water.
Price and Availability
Honey is relatively affordable, starting at $2.96 per pound, and can be found easily in various places. On the other hand, Sorghum Syrup is pricier at $10.19 for a 16 oz. bottle and may be less commonly available.
When it comes to comparing the environmental impact of two sweeteners, honey, and sorghum, both have sustainability benefits. Honey production has a low impact on greenhouse gas emissions, as it doesn’t rely on heavy machinery or fertilizers. Beekeeping practices contribute to the preservation of natural habitats and the pollination of plants. In contrast, sorghum farming is beneficial for mitigating climate change, as it removes harmful carbon from the atmosphere and promotes soil health through carbon storage. In addition, sorghum requires less water and fewer chemical inputs than other crops.
While both honey and sorghum offer sustainability advantages, sorghum is potentially more sustainable due to its ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere, promote soil health, and reduce the need for extensive use of fertilizers and pesticides. However, it’s essential to consider various factors, such as local agricultural conditions and availability, when determining the sustainability of each sweetener.
Sorghum Syrup vs. Honey: The Ultimate Verdict
Sorghum syrup and honey are good swaps for each other due to their similar sweet flavors, making them viable substitutes in baking, cooking, and as toppings. However, honey has the upper hand overall due to its health benefits and being easier to find in most markets. Honey is a rich source of antioxidants that fight inflammation and can boost heart health, whereas sorghum syrup has a higher GI than honey. Honey wins, but only just!
In select recipes, pure sorghum syrup can seamlessly substitute as a 1:1 alternative for liquid sweeteners like corn syrup, cane syrup, honey, and molasses.
It has more minerals and antioxidants, so in that sense, yes. However, when baking, sometimes a granulated sweetener works better in the recipe than a syrup.
Molasses trump honey in mineral and vitamin content, with an abundance of iron, calcium, potassium, and B. Honey has been more well-studied for its wound healing and antimicrobial properties, though, so they both have their benefits in different scenarios.