So there you have it. I decided in favour of tradition. I got out my recipe card and the 1950s candy thermometer that my aunt passed on to me. I went back to making marshmallows for Christmas.
Not without some thought, as you might have guessed. Last week I said I’d be thinking about it, considering that sugar is a primary ingredient in homemade marshmallows. So this post is about how my thinking got me from there to here. If you want the recipe, you’ll find it here.
Sugar isn’t good for any of us …and for me in particular. My body doesn’t have a robust sugar-handling mechanism. Too many sugary foods and carbohydrates cause my blood sugar to spike and fall rather than remaining stable.
Stabilizing blood sugar
I’ve been on a campaign these past three years to normalize my body’s functioning. Along the way, I’ve learned there are things I can do to stabilize my blood sugar. So if I’m going to eat marshmallows, it would be prudent to remember these things.
- Eat sugar with protein and fat. Practically speaking, that means having marshmallows at the end of the meal, not as a snack on an empty stomach.
- Take supplements that support sugar metabolism. I work with a few options but not all at once! I muscle-check at the time to see what is called for, and how much I need.
- Test blood sugar levels with my home monitor if I want to observe the blood sugar effect after I’ve eaten marshmallows…and for sure if I’m feeling as if there’s an adverse effect occurring.
Using quality ingredients
I also thought about the ingredients I’ll be using. The bottom line is, I want to make them as minimally stressful for my body as possible by choosing “clean” ingredients. That’s my general policy when I buy food, and applies here too.
My marshmallows are always rolled in toasted coconut, probably because that’s how my dad liked them. I’ll buy it at the natural foods store where I usually shop.
Gelatin is a major ingredient in marshmallows. It creates the structure when a sugar syrup is beaten in. Instead of the packaged mass-produced gelatin we used in the past, I’ll use this pasture-raised, grass-fed, non-GMO gelatin. There are reasons all these qualities are important, but I won’t go into that here.
Instead of white beet sugar, I’ll use raw cane sugar. Let’s be honest, sugar is sugar and the amount of sucrose is the same in either case. But organic raw cane sugar is less processed, retains some nutrients, and is not treated with pesticides and chemical fertilizers during growing. It will perform the same as white sugar in this recipe. So, all in all, it’s the more constructive choice.
Now, you might wonder why I’m using sugar at all. Katie, the Wellness Mama, has a Healthy Marshmallows Recipe made with honey and the option to add probiotics. You might like it. I didn’t try it.
There are times when you don’t mess with tradition.
I learned that traditions are sacred when I was a young wife cooking my first Christmas dinner for my husband’s family. I planned the usual menu—turkey with cranberry sauce, potatoes and gravy, stuffing, some cooked vegetables.
As I reviewed this list of things we always ate at Christmas, the newly graduated home economist in me kicked in. That looks pretty dull. What could I do that’s different?
I’d been paging through holiday magazines and remembered seeing a raw cranberry-orange relish. Interesting idea! I’ll make that instead of cranberry sauce.
It did not go over well. The family jokingly asked for the “real stuff”…but they weren’t actually joking. I realized they were feeling deprived of an important part of their holiday meal.
Traditions are very personal things. I prefer cranberry sauce as a dessert with cream instead of on a plate of savoury food, probably because my mother didn’t like cranberry with turkey. To me, it’s neither here nor there if cranberry sauce appears on a holiday table.
But making candy to share at Christmas is another story. That’s my thing and I feel something is missing if I don’t do it.
What’s the big deal about tradition?
No one says it better than Tevye.