We've noticed a lot of hesitation toward recipes that call for corn syrup, so we decided to clear up misconceptions about the common sweetener. The corn syrup carried in grocery stores is not the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that is used in commercially prepared food products. Still, you may be reluctant to use corn syrup because of the negative health consequences associated with the highly-processed HFCS. Just remember: they're very different products.
Many people don’t realize that corn syrup, like the one in the clear bottle on the grocery store shelves, is simply a sugar that has been extracted from corn and processed into a liquid form. Corn syrup off the shelf is pure glucose, whereas some of the glucose in HFCS has been converted to fructose through a chemical process. That makes it much sweeter than corn syrup or regular table sugar. (It's also really cheap, which is why you see it in everything from sodas to breads.) You can't find HFCS for sale on the shelf, but you will find it in most sugar-sweetened beverages. It isn't filling or satiating. Both are forms of refined sugar and should be consumed in moderation.
We've found a place where a little bit of corn syrup has a huge payoff: Adding it to homemade ice creams, sorbets, sugary syrups, and frozen pops (like our Red, White, and Blue Pops) acts like a smoothing agent and prevents jagged hard crystals from forming. When granulated sugar is melted during the cooking process, adding corn syrup (5 tablespoons for 10 pops in this specific recipe) helps prevent it from recrystallizing and making the ice cream or sauce grainy or gritty. Corn syrup also makes ice cream and sorbets stay softer in the freezer and keeps sauces smoother in the fridge.
It may seem like overkill adding a second sweetener to specific desserts, but the benefits of adding just a touch of corn syrup are incredible. To prove it, try this yummy Cantaloupe Sherbet with a ripe just-picked melon from your local farmers' market.
Keep in mind: Some manufacturers add HFCS to their corn syrup, so be sure to read the label. And as with all sweeteners, corn syrup is a sugar and should be consumed in moderation.