Brown Rice Syrup

When I was working on reviewing Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking, one of the things I looked forward to was trying out some of the natural, non-super-processed sweeteners out there. After all, they sometimes have slightly lower glycemic indexes, they usually have more nutrients, and they almost always have more flavor.

However, brown rice syrup is something I was rather dubious about. It doesn’t sound very good, does it? Before using it in anything I gave it a tentative taste, wanting to make sure I didn’t accidentally ruin a recipe by putting in a sweetener that would make it taste bad.

So I took that tiny taste. And then I held the spoon out to my husband and said, “oh my god, you have to try this!”

It doesn’t taste like sugar; I’ll be honest about that. It tastes far better than sugar. It tastes of honey and caramel. It’s the kind of deep, rich taste you can lose yourself in.

One of my favorite kinds of desserts involves fruit, often macerated in a bit of sugar and perhaps a little liqueur. Brown rice syrup, I’ve found, works particularly well for this. I worried it wouldn’t mix in well since it’s quite thick, but just let the spoonful of it sit in the bowl of fruit for a few minutes before stirring; the fruit juices “melt” it quickly and naturally. There’s something about the rich flavor of brown rice syrup that seems to complement berries perfectly. It makes them taste sweeter rather than sweetened, if that makes sense. Take the cherries I used it on last night, for example. They didn’t taste sugared afterward; they just tasted like they’d never been sour at all, and they had a delicious smoky caramel hint to them.

If this is natural cooking, I’ll throw that super-processed white sugar in the trash right now!

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10 comments on “Brown Rice Syrup
  1. Tara says:

    Brown rice syrup sounds great! I have tried the agave nectar she suggested and really like it.

  2. heather says:

    Mmmmm. I do so love the brown rice syrup and agave nectar. And I’ve gone entirely from using processed white sugar to using, at the very least, natural cane sugar. It really is better.

  3. Chris Power says:

    I was trying to get away from high fructose corn syrup for my toaster waffle addiction. I find maple syrup too sweet and a bit runny so now I mix 12 oz of brown rice syrup with 2 oz of maple syrup for a perfect combo.

  4. heather says:

    Sounds like a delicious combo!!

  5. Mary Jay says:

    If you are worried about diabetes, brown rice syrup is not recommended. Scroll down to the chart of various sweetners and see what it has to say about it:

  6. Brown rice syrup is expensive, so I don’t blame people for going with agave. By the way, brown rice syrup is mild, yet have you noticed the slight bitter flavor? It is artificial in a way, as it’s derived from mixing the flour with enzymes to transform the starch into simpler sugars. Then the fluid is evaporated as is maple sugar, in principle.

    Agave is more natural, and what an exotic source! It seems to lack the carmelly character of rice, though, but like rice syrup, slower on the ‘ol glycemic index.

    I hope stevia products will soon become more affordable. That will take some of the guilt load off millions of border-line diabetics.

  7. Edwin says:

    After reading this post, I almost got to the point of going to the store and getting myself some ingredients. I’ll be sure to try this in the morning. Thanks for this delicious combo =]

  8. Dave says:

    Even if the commenter above doesn’t have anything positive to add, brown rice syrup still sounds good (or at least from the way you described it!)

  9. Simone says:

    @Edwin: So did you try out the recipe? To be honest I am dubious about anything that sounds as exotic as brown rice syrup.

  10. Taylor says:

    Any time I get away from using white sugar to add a sweeter taste, I’m all for giving something a try.

    I already eat a ton of brown rice for similar reasons (white rice turns to sugar too quickly). Agave nector is another new one for me.

    Thanks for giving me some more options to consider

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