Nature's Finest Invention

Refined sugar, its brothers, sisters, cousins and even some who masquerade as members of the family have-at one time or another-all bamboozled us into believing we can't live without them and worst of all, cannot go a single day without at least one of the family members slithering its artificial self into our eagerly awaiting mouths.

My first 50 years was spent being involved in a relentless love affair with refined sugar. To put it bluntly, I was an addict-a sugar addict that is. Yes, it took 50 years before I finally changed the locks and was able to keep that dirty little family out, the one who had previously created so much havoc on my health, skin, hair, waistline… and on and on.

My journey to find nature's finest invention began about three years ago. Could there possibly be a sweetener that comes from mother earth, is chemical free, has no preservatives and is quite possibly good for our health?

I googled perfect sweetener, healthy sweetener, unrefined sweetener---you name it, I googled it. The results led me in circles without any definitive answers. So, I headed to the "healthier" supermarkets. Surely, there must be nature's finest invention just setting on the shelf waiting for me to rescue it from the dust and fingerprints that adorn its container. I filled my grocery cart with all the professed "good for you" sweeteners. I must have spent $100 on my quest to find this ever elusive invention.

I bought one of each...agave nectar, raw honey, maple syrup, stevia, sucanat, molasses, and so on. Maybe, just maybe nature's finest invention was sitting in my earth friendly, brown paper bag on its way to my kitchen for some closely scrutinized label reading and test cooking.

One by one, I compared labels, tasted, test cooked in numerous recipes and ultimately found dissatisfaction with each and every one. Perhaps it was the fact that raw honey crystallized much to quickly, agave nectar’s assertion that its taste was sweeter than refined sugar and more palatable than honey but failed to live up to its claims, or maybe it was the bitter after taste of molasses. I knew my journey to find nature’s finest invention was far from over.

A few months later while online--by sheer coincidence--I ran across a story about a family in a nearby community--called Muddy Pond--that grew and produced a plant called Sorghum. The article talked about Sorghum’s health benefits, its delicious taste and how it’s virtually unknown to most of North America. Needless to say, I eagerly headed to Muddy Pond, Tennessee and met with the family that grew this mystery of a crop--called Sorghum. I was about to get an education in what I now believe to be nature's finest invention.      

Sweet Sorghum is a powerhouse of nutrients, is great to cook with, has antioxidant levels at least equivalent to blueberries--if not more so and doesn’t crystallize near as quickly as raw honey. I purchased a pint of sweet Sorghum, rolled up my sleeves and got started with a new round of test cooking. Baked beans, breads and barbecue sauces were all were made using sweet Sorghum-- and no other sweeteners. The taste was delicious, the aroma of breads baking and chicken breast with Sorghum barbecue sauce sizzling on the grill--Divine! I then began creating my own recipes made with sweet Sorghum and have never looked back.

Today, the only sweetener in our home is Sorghum. Who would have thought I needed to look no further than my own backyard to find nature’s finest invention. For more information about Sorghum and its health benefits click here.

Gale Compton