Honey is the oldest known natural sweetener and has great health benefits. It is made from nectar of flowers collected by bees. Honey can have different flavors and shades of color depending on where the bees get their pollen. Since honey is three times sweeter than refined white sugar, it should be used sparingly.
Molasses is the product leftover when sugarcane is boiled, cooled and removed of its crystals. It is then boiled again, resulting in dark, caramel flavored molasses. Similar to maple syrup, molasses is available in different grades based on the boiling process. Light molasses is from the first boiling, while dark molasses is from the second boiling and blackstrap molasses comes from the third.
Agave nectar has gained popularity in the last few years as a multipurpose natural sweetener. This sweet syrup is made from juice that is harvested from the core of the Mexican agave plant and then heated and processed. Agave nectar is similar to honey in that it ranges in color from light to dark and raw varieties, but it is sweeter and much thinner than honey.
Don’t deprive yourself of the sweetness of life; just choose an all-natural variety! The recipe below combines honey, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard to make a sweet and slightly tangy sauce that is perfect with pork chops!
Honey Maple Pork Chops
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20-25 minutes Serves 4
8 boneless pork chops, sliced ¼ inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook pork chops 1-2 minutes per side just to brown.
Combine remaining ingredients and pour over pork chops in skillet. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer pork chops in sauce for 20-25 minutes, or until sauce is thick and pork chops are cooked through.
Chef Heather Hunsaker attended and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, but has been developing family friendly meals since she was nine years old in her mother’s kitchen. She is an avid crockpotter and knows how to get food on the table in a pinch. She currently serves as a writer and recipe developer for meal planning site www.foodonthetable.com.