If there’s five natural sweeteners that are essential pantry items for a whole-foods based, EatFree style of cooking, here they are:
1) Agave Nectar: Buy the light variety if you are going to buy one since its lighter flavor helps it to act as a backdrop (as opposed to overwhelming) the other flavors it is trying to enhance in a recipe.
2) Honey: Buy the darker variety for enhanced nutrition and for its unique floral quality that no other sweetener can bring.
3) Maple Syrup: Buy it for its unique flavor. Remember not to purchase pancake syrup, which is little more than corn syrup flavored with artificial maple flavors.
4) Turbinado Raw Sugar: You can substitute demerara sugar as well. This sugar has versatile uses-for example, it can be pulverized to act like refined white sugar in baking.
5) Light Muscavado Sugar: This is the “real” brown sugar. It adds moistness and chewiness to baked goods as well as adding depth of flavor to Asian style sauces and glazes.
The other specialty sugars such as palm and jaggery can be bought for specific recipes, but as long as you have these five, you’re well-stocked for most whole-foods based, EatFree style recipes!