So, is honey vegan? There are numerous plant products out there that make great substitutes for honey. Here are some vegan honey alternatives to try out for yourself.
Is Honey Vegan?
This is a common question among many beginners to a vegan lifestyle. The answer is simple: No, honey is not vegan. Therefore, the term “vegan honey”, as used by some, may be misleading. Honey is an animal product. We as humans interfere with the natural life cycle of bees just as we do with other domesticated animals. For example, massive demand for bee products has resulted in mass plantation-style bee-keeping operations right here in the United States. It is precisely for this reason than many vegans refrain from using honey or beeswax and look for vegan honey substitutes.
Here’s some food for thought: Approximately one third of the crops that we grow for food depends on pollination by bees. In recent years, wild bee populations have been experiencing a sharp decline. If we don’t learn to protect them, bees may begin to permanently disappear from the Earth. And if bees went extinct, they would take a lot with them.
Swiss director Markus Imhoof explores precisely this scenario in his award-winning documentary “More than Honey” (2012), which provides an in-depth look into the worldwide decrease in bee populations in recent years.
Here’s where you can watch “More than Honey”:
Vegan Honey Alternatives
Whether you’re searching for the next best vegan honey alternative or simply feel the need to try something new, the following plant-based options (along with a pinch of sugar) are sure to meet the mark.
1. Maple Syrup
The vegan honey alternative we all know and love: Maple syrup is often used as a honey or sugar substitute.
Maple Syrup is produced by first drilling holes in the trunks of sugar maple trees. Once collected, the sap undergoes further processing, leaving behind a concentrated syrup. The yield from approximately 100 gallons of sap is around 2,5 gallons of maple syrup – a product primarily consisting of sucrose and fructose sugars.
Depending on where you’re living and buying from, transportation routes for maple syrup can be long. Although Canadians are the experts of the maple syrup trade, products made in the U.S.A. taste just as good – and may have travelled less to get to you. Key when buying this vegan honey alternative is keeping tabs on where yours is sourced from.
Utopia’s tip: Weight Loss Through a Vegan Diet: This Is How It’s Done
2. Agave Syrup and Agave “Nectar”
This vegan honey alternative is becoming increasingly popular and can be found in supermarkets all around the United States. The production process involves removing the juice from Mexican agave plants and cooking it into a syrupy liquid. The consistency is actually similar to honey. The darker the color, the more intense the caramel-like aroma.
Note: Agave syrup’s consistency makes it a great vegan sugar or honey substitute for drinks, but not for baking. Also, it has a relatively high concentration of fructose, which not everyone tolerates the same way.
3. Vegan Dandelion Honey From Flowers
This vegan honey substitute is made from dandelion flowers, sugar and lemon juice. Make your own homemade dandelion honey and you’ve found a great way keep your yard free of these pesky weeds while also supporting bee populations everywhere.
100% vegan dandelion honey is incredibly easy to make. Check out Utopia’s own dandelion honey recipe and get busy making your own in only a couple simple steps.
You can use dandelion syrup exactly how you would use honey, i.e. in baking, as a beverage sweetener, as a spread and so on.
4. Sweeten Drinks with Stevia
Looking for a vegan alternative to honey for sweetening drinks? Stevia (stevia rebaudiana) is a calorie-free vegan honey substitute worth a try.
Depending on the exact product in question, stevia can be up to 450 times sweeter than regular sugar. Stevia is calorie-free and is metabolized without insulin, thus making it a worthy pick for diabetics.
Please consider: Although a calorie-free alternative, stevia remains controversial due to the extremely comprehensive extraction process of stevia-glycosides from the leaves involved in production.
Make it Organic Honey If at All
If you do end up buying honey, make sure to keep an eye out for the USDA Organic Seal on any product you buy. Just as important when reading labels is country of origin. In the United States, overall demand still outweighs supply, which means we also import honey from place like China. Be sure to buy local if possible. Or, you know, why not make your own vegan honey alternative?
This article was translated from German to English by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Honig vegan: die 6 besten pflanzlichen Alternativen** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support Utopia.org, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.
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