Non-processed ingredients, products and techniques are explained here as well as basic cooking terms.
Rapadura: A brand of minimally-processed, non-bleached cane sugar that has a flavor similar to brown sugar. Can be used as a substitute for brown sugar in equal proportions in recipes. Can be found in most health food stores and some stores that carry organic foods.
Sucanat: Evaporated cane juice that is minimally processed and not bleached. Does not have as much of a brown sugar taste or color as Rapadura and so can be used as a substitute for white sugar in recipes. Good for recipes where honey will not work and you need a dry sweetener.
Stevia: An herb used as a sweetener that does not affect blood sugar as much as refined white sugars and is considered safer for diabetics to use. Stevia is very sweet and only a fraction of it needs to be used to sweeten anything. See the chart below for conversion rates to substitute stevia for sugar in recipes. Following are the substitution rates for stevia to sugar in recipes.
Sugar =1 cup, Stevia powder =1 teaspoon, Stevia liquid =1 teaspoon
Sugar = 1 tablespoon, Stevia powder = 1/4 teaspoon, Stevia liquid = 6 to 9 drops
Sugar =1 teaspoon, Stevia poweder = A pinch to 1/16 teaspoon, Stevia liquid = 2 to 4 drops
Agave syrup: Sometimes honey can get a burnt taste at extremely high temperatures like when it is used to make candy. Agave can make a better sugar substitute under such circumstances.
Aluminum-Free Baking Powder / Soda: What’s so important about staying away from aluminum in baked goods? Studies have shown a link between aluminum and breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Non-GMO Cornstarch: Organic is the only way to stay away from GMOs. Corn is one of the most heavily sprayed crops there is, so using organic corn products is important in order to avoid toxins as much as possible.
Raw, Unprocessed Honey: Unprocessed honey is honey straight from the honeycomb in either filtered or unfiltered form. Honey has it’s own natural anti- fungal, antibacterial qualities so it doesn’t need preservatives and is a great substitute for refined white sugars because it has much more flavor, nutrients, and does not cause diabetes because the natural enzymes have not been removed as they are in refined, processed sugars.
Substitution rate is half of what sugar is. So if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, you can use 1/2 cup of honey because honey is much sweeter than sugar. In recipes where the amount of liquid may be an issue, cut back the liquid by 1/4 cup to allow for the liquid in the honey.
Scalding: Heating milk to the point where it just starts to bubble around the edges of the pan but is not boiling yet.
Sea Salt, Kosher Salt and Table Salt: All consist of the chemical compound sodium chloride. Minerals like calcium and magnesium are added to sea salt to give it a taste different than table and kosher salt. Kosher salt typically does not contain any additives though some companies may add some minerals to make it free flowing. All have a 97.5% sodium chloride content and table salt will usually have anti-caking agents added to it. Sea salt tends to be very fine grained while kosher salt granules are large and flaky and table salt is somewhere in between the two in granule size. Kosher salt is also considered better for canning preserves because it will not leave a film on the inside of the jar.
Organic vs Natural: Many consumers confuse the term “natural” with “organic”and they are two very different things. When a product is labeled natural, all this means is that it was not packaged with preservatives, but it still was grown and processed with all the usual chemicals. When a product is labeled 100% organic, this mean that it has not been grown, processed or packaged with any chemicals of any kind.
Gluten Free: Whole wheat is the best flour for fighting colon cancer and constipation. However, a great number of people are having allergic reactions and intolerances (celiac disease) to wheat these days. It seems that organic wheat is not as much of an allergen as conventional wheat. For those with wheat allergies, you may want to give organic wheat a try. Other substitutes for people with wheat allergies are gluten-free products and other grains such as quinoa or buckwheat.
Soft ball stage: A small amount of hot candy mixture when dropped into a cup of cold water will form a soft ball when rolled between your fingers.
Hard ball stage: When a small amount of hot candy mixture is dropped into a cup of cold water it will form a hard ball when you roll it between your fingers.