Retirement Remedies: A CEU for the Kitchen: Saving Sugar

I love reading my old vintage women's magazines.  I almost always find a story I failed to read in the past or haven't read in a couple of years and get fresh inspiration on how to use what I have to stretch things a bit further. 

We might well think we have some sort of corner market for things like cutting down on meat or repurposing furniture, but honey!  These old magazines point up that most of what we thought we came up with grandmothers and great grandmothers were doing years ago.

For instance in this current magazine I'm reading, Woman's Day September 1945, the opening pages were ideas for pastas.  And what is the very first recipe?  Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower...ha!  We are just recycling doggone good ideas from the past!

Well rationing was current then and one of the things that got rationed was sugar.  This particular magazine suggested ways to save sugar.  One suggestion throughout those years was to use corn syrup.  I don't know that it would save money even if we did opt to use corn syrup (I've been mildly allergic since infancy so I'm not going to eat it in anything except Granny's pecan pie recipe! lol).

Cold and hot cereal were popular back then, and certainly not the heavily sweetened stuff we find these days.  With sugar rationing in force, suggestions were given for how to sweeten cereal without using sugar.  Both dry and cooked cereals are shown in these examples and since I'm not sharing the pictures I will tell you which they are recommending in each suggestion.

For dry cereal:
Top with marmalade or preserves:  dry cereal is pictured with this but I noted when Bess and Sam were here he asked Bess to top his oatmeal with a spoonful of strawberry preserves rather than sugar. 

Top with honey or syrup

Honey sweetened baked egg custard.

Banana powder (anyone heard of this product?) or malted milk powder instead of sweeteners.

Cooking molasses to hard ball stage, mixing with dry cereal and molding in a form. (This one meant more as a dessert rather than for a breakfast).

Top with nut or cream cheese stuffed cooked prunes and serve with prune syrup poured atop.

Cooked cereals:
Most of these were cooked and then served chilled, apparently meant to be desserts.  Most are not specific to what was used, but cream of wheat (farina), cream of rice, oatmeal are all cereals.  In the South we have grits which are often used as a savory dish but could be sweetened too I suppose.  So where there is no specific mention of the cereal type I think any of them might be used.

Cook cereal (no specifications as to which they used) with peanut butter.  Pack into loaf pan, slice when well chilled and serve with chocolate syrup.

Cook, chill in mold, serve with syrup from canned fruit.

Cook, chill, and serve with syrup and crunchy dry cereal atop.

Cook Farina (cream of wheat).  Add beaten egg white, lemon rind and corn syrup to the cereal, then pack into molds and chill.  Serve with a honey sauce.

Cook mincemeat with cereal.  Mold and chill.  Serve with dark corn syrup and chopped nuts.

Further in the magazine are these suggestions for saving sugar:

1.  Serve fresh fruits for desserts.  A fruit salad topped with a dressing made with fruit juice serves both as salad and dessert.

2.  Save syrup from canned fruits to sweeten beverages or to sweeten other fruit sauces (like applesauce).

3.  Make a sugar syrup to sweeten beverages like iced tea or lemonade.  Often sugar doesn't dissolve well in these beverages and so more is stirred in.  Make syrup with 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water and heat just to boiling and sugar dissolved.  You can make a light syrup with less sugar, say a half cup to 1 cup of water.

4.  Cook cereals with prunes, raisins, or dates instead of with sugar.

5.  Use fewer frostings on cakes.  Serve plain or with a dusting of powdered sugar instead.  When you do frost cakes, don't frost the sides.

6.  Serve a sweet bread, such as a coffee cake, rather than a cake which requires more sugar.

7.  Make desserts that use honey, molasses, sorghum, cane, corn or other syrups instead of sugar.

8.  Extend sugar in cakes by substituting with honey, molasses, or corn or other syrups.  Honey may replace sugar cup for cup, but use half the liquid called for in the recipe.  Corn, cane, or maple syrup also replace sugar measure for measure but decrease the liquid called for in the recipe by one third.

We might not have rationing issues these days but I'd think many of these ideas are good savings ideas, don't you?  I'm also going to keep an eye out for a few recipes that use less sugar just to hone my skills in this area.


Lana said...

My Mom often served plain squares of sheet cake with whipped cream. We also have a recipe passed down through the family that only calls for 1/2 cup of sugar for an entire batch of frosting. I like less sweet options for cake any day.

I have switched to an evaporated cane juice sugar that Aldi sells and it is sweeter than processed white sugar so not as much is needed. I am not sure it really counts as money saved though since it is 2.69 for 4 pounds. I am pretty certain it is better for us though since it is not so processed.

Anonymous said...

For quite a while Sam's had organic sugar in 10 lb bags and next to it was C and H 10 lb bags of regular cane sugar for a higher price! That surprised me but It was right so I got it instead!
My mother made corn meal mush with left overs. she sliced it for the next breakfast and had syrup over it she made from sugar, water and Mapoline or real maple syrup. Course this is not cutting down sugar. She used the least she could though. I put rains in my oatmeal and forgo sugar.
During the war my grandmother kept putting smaller spoons in the sugar bowl to get everyone used to less sugar in their hot tea. My grandfather would put enough in that half his cup was sugar if he could. She especially cut back the spoon sizes because of him. She said he never mentioned it. He Must have noticed but probably kept the joke up! :) He still put the same amount of spoons in even though you should have seen the teeny spoon size by the end of it!! :-)) She then kept that teeny spoon in the bowl the rest of their lives.
I have tried many years to grow Stevia. I will keep trying. Each year the plants start out looking good then get stunted and then die. I am doing something wrong and someday I will get it right.
I really enjoy the suggestions in your post. Now more than ever we are trying to cut back on sweets..sugar or excess fruit etc. I used to love serving lots of fresh fruits and deserts. We are blessed hubby can still have some. Others are not as lucky and have to limit so many more things in their diets due to health problems.
Are you going to do other posts on what you have learned new from the diabetic magazines and such? Did you find one diabetic magazine better over all than the other? We need information and how to incorporate this into our diets and such. Was there one who did it better? It is all part of housekeeping and homemaking and worth the study I feel. At the classes we went to to learn about diabetes they gave us a list of how much I should eat compared to hubby. I am shorter than him. His list of foods for each meal is so much bigger than what I should eat! !! A real eye opener! I am bad at snacking. So far my sugars are good but I better work on keeping them good. :) Sarah

Dawn said...

A Japanese friend mentioned that American desserts are always so sweet. She cuts back on the sugar used in recipes. I have started doing the same. I cut back by at least one-third and have not run into any problems or complaints yet.

Living on Less Money Blog said...

I love learning from women who lived in previous generations! I found it interesting to read some of the combinations of foods they ate. I wonder if we will end up rationing in the future with all the predictions you read about?

Anonymous said...

Terri, yes grits can be a sweet dish. I always put a little sweetener on mine along with a small amount of real butter when I have grits for breakfast. Yum. Now I'm hungry for a bowl of grits!


beckyathome said...

My mom always cut the sugar in recipes as I was growing up. So, I continued doing that for many years. Right now, the way I save sugar the most is that I just don't bake very often like I used to. We don't eat dessert every day, like I did growing up. It makes a huge difference and my sugar lasts a LONG time. Also, we buy it in a huge bag from Cash and Carry and put it in old ice cream buckets and it is less expensive, or buy it on really good sales in small bags and just keep them until needed.

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