So for the rest of today’s post. I left early to do some shopping before the hoards preparing for tomorrow’s storm hit the stores. I got some good deals on canned black and kidney beans and I also found a store brand, organic bran cereal with no high fructose corn syrup. The kids like bran muffins (Friday’s recipe) and I like not having to make breakfast. A good bran muffin with some peanut butter and juice is a “good-to-go” recipe that the girls can even eat on the bus. I freeze large batches, then heat them on the parlor stove while we are getting dressed.

I am speaking at the permaculture guild tonight on the virtues of Stevia, a very sweet herb that is easy to grow and good for adding sweetness to teas without adding calories. This got me to thinking about sweeteners-well that and the fact that sugar prices are going up very quickly and I want to lay in another 100 pounds before spring. I hope you have a sugar supply but I hope you have not bought in a number # 10 can from a preparedness store. They charge a fortune for it and sugar is one of the easiest foods to purchase and store. It doesn’t go bad or get infested with bugs although you do need to keep ants out of it. As long as you keep a good lid on it, ants should not be a problem. I have noticed that some of the bags of sugar in the market look like good deals until you realize that the sacks are 4 pounds rather the traditional 5 pounds. I get my sugar from BJ’s in 20 pound bags. We use a lot as we feed the bees a sugar syrup in the spring and also have used Heather’s recipe for making candy boards. Between bees and jam making, I go through a lot of sugar.

I also store honey (naturally). It’s another sweetener that never goes bad. It is mighty pricey though and until we had hives, I used it sparingly. I am just learning how to convert for use in baking. Does anyone out there have a book recommendation for cooking with honey?

molasses is good to have on hand. I store both regular molasses and black strap. Black strap taste to strong for me but I use it beans and sometimes in a dark gingerbread. It is good for you but it also stains everything it touches. Molasses and white sugar make a brown sugar that cooks up just like the boxed kind.

I have local maple syrup that I get from a friend who boils. I hope to swap for honey this year. We don’t use that much syrup as we prefer fruit syrup but when I use it I want the real thing.

I keep a couple of pounds of confectioner’s sugar on hand for making frosting but I don’t store it as it tends to get hard and, for some reason, ants will get into that when they leave the white sugar alone.

Stevia is good for tea but you can’t really cook with it. I do grow it but there is a funny kind of chemical taste to it. I prefer to use honey.