Sweet Beets for a Healthful Diet
Not all sugars are created equal. As consumers seek to reduce their caloric intake and look to substitute non-nutritional sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup or white refined sugar, they (re-) discover natural, unrefined alternatives that satisfy their sweet tooth, yet also provide essential nutrients. The century-old German favorite Grafschafter Goldsaft fits that bill: this honey-like syrup is derived from all natural, non-GMO sugar beets, is highly versatile to use as spread, topping, or ingredient and adds essential nutrients to the diet. Read more about Grafschafter Gourmet Spreads.
How beet sugar syrup is made
Like honey or maple syrup, Grafschafter Goldsaft is an all-natural sweetener made from the juice of sugar beets. The process is simple: the freshly harvested beets are cleaned, cut, steamed and pressed, until all of the juice is extracted. This extract is further cleaned and heated under vacuum so that water evaporates, leaving a thick, viscous, syrupy spread.
Taste and texture
Grafschafter Goldsaft is thicker than corn syrup or molasses, but less caloric and more nutritious than table sugar, honey or maple syrup. Due to slow, careful water extraction under vacuum, the sugar beet extract retains most of the essential nutrients absorbed from the soil, such as iron, potassium, and magnesium. The taste is sweet with a little acidic kick, not too bitter like molasses or too sweet like corn syrup. Grafschafter Goldsaft makes an ideal spread on toast or ingredient for cakes, cookies, marinades and sauces.
A long history
The use of sugar beet extract as natural remedy to cure digestion or sinus inflammations has been documented since around 400 BC, the age of Hippocrates (460 – 377 BC). Ancient Roman doctors and Middle Age monks chopped and pressed sugar beets and served the juice mixed with honey as a cure for the common cold.
Sugar beets grow exclusively in moderate climates like Germany and are related to red beets and chard. Since the renaissance, crystallized sugar had been extracted from sugar beets found in tropical areas. As German scientist discovered Sugar extraction methods from white beets in the late 18th century, sugar beet processing took off in Prussia the early 19th century. This technology was later adopted in the UK and USA.
During the late 19th century, Germany became the world’s largest producer of sugar made from sugar beets and “beet factories” (Krautfabriken in German) sprung up all over the country, especially along the Rhine river which provided the perfect soil to grow beets. The Grafschafter Krautfabrik Josef Schmitz KG was founded in1893. Today one of Europe’s largest producer of fruit and sugar beet products, the company still produces beet sugar syrup according to the traditional production methods handed down for generations.
Uses for Grafschafter Goldsaft
If you had grown up in the Rhineland at Germany’s western border, you likely would get your morning sweet kick with Grafschafter Goldsaft spread on your Brötchen (roll). But the syrup has many other uses:
- When used as a replacement for sugar in biscuits, cakes, and bread, the dark syrup not only improves the flavor, but also provides an attractive coloring in baking.
- In cooking, sugar beet syrup can also be used as a replacement thickener because of its specific consistency, for example in thickening sauces.
- It also lends a special flavor to dressings.
- The taste of small piquant and sweet dishes such as pancakes, fried potato cakes, ice cream and sweets are given a boost when this pure, natural product is served with them.
- The all natural syrup-spread serves as bread spread, ingredient for sauces and cakes, as topping on waffles pancakes and many other uses.
- Goldsaft Sauerbraten (Marinated Beef Brisket a la Rhineland)
- Rheinischer Pumpernickel (Rhineland Pumpernickel)
- Apple-Pear Cheesecake
- Berry Pie
- Cupcake Sundown
- Goldsaft Apple Cider Torte
- Grafschafter Apricot Torte
- Raspberry Clafoutis
- Grafschafter Yogurt Cupcakes
- Pick Me Up Pancakes
- Potato pancakes
Grafschafter Apple Fruit Spreads are a melange of freshly harvested apples and pears, mild ginger, slightly tart black currants or aromatic elderberries. These spreads provide a unique taste and texture. For each 320g jar of Grafschafter Gourmet fruitspreads, 880 g of fruits need to be processed.
See also: Grafschafter Apple and Pear Spreads
All pictures and recipes courtesy of Grafschafter Krautfabrik GmbH. All rights reserved. © Grafschafter Krautfabrik GmbH.