Golden Syrup: Britain’s Liquid Sugar

Golden syrup is similar to light molasses in that it is made from boiling sugar cane juice. It is what is left after crystallized sugar has been removed. The syrup is refined by filtering it through charcoal. Golden syrup is thick and amber-colored with a strong resemblance to honey.

In the United Kingdom, golden syrup is often used in the same way that corn syrup is used in North America.

Some sources claim the term golden syrup was first used in Australia in the mid-19th century but the most widely accepted story about golden syrup’s origin is that it was invented in England.

The inventor was a Scotsman named Abram Lyle whose name you see on Lyle Golden Syrup labels. Lyle’s Golden Syrup has long been the best-known golden syrup in the United Kingdom. In 1881, Lyle built a sugar refinery in East London and started producing golden syrup, which he dubbed goldie. At first, he sold golden syrup only to his workers but then its popularity grew and soon he was selling it to the wider public.

At first, the syrup was sold in barrels since Lyle was a cooper but it would eventually be packaged in its iconic tin. The logo on the labels depicted bees both because of the syrup’s similarity to honey and Lyle’s religious beliefs. The bee-themed logo refers to the Old Testament story of Samson getting honey from the carcass of a lion and is the original logo from the 1800s.

In 1921, Abram Lyle & Sons merged with Henry Tate & Sons to form Tate & Lyle. The Tate & Lyle company continues to produce Lyle’s Golden Syrup today.

One of the factors in the early fame of Lyle’s Golden Syrup was the fact that it was among the supplies on Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition to Antarctica. When explorers found what remained of Scott’s stores in 1956, the golden syrup was still perfectly usable.

Lyle produced his golden syrup at a low cost and marketed it to poor people in England’s industrialized cities who subsisted on bread and treacle. Today, golden syrup is mainly popular in the United Kingdom. It is not as well-known in the United States, but you can find it in the International sections of some well-stocked grocery stores.

Golden syrup flavor profile

The main flavor of golden syrup is sweetness. Golden syrup is slightly less sweet than refined white sugar due to its water content. Along with being sweet, golden syrup is sometimes said to have a butterscotch flavor.

Health benefits of golden syrup

Because golden syrup consists mostly of sugar, it has no significant health benefits. It is essentially the same as refined white sugar, which has a similar glycemic index score and no real dietary benefits.

Health concerns

Because of its high sugar content, golden syrup presents all the health risks that come with refined sugar. It is a high-calorie food, which means that it can cause obesity. It can also lead to associated health problems like diabetes and fatty liver disease.

Common uses

You can use golden syrup in many of the same ways that corn syrup and maple syrup are used in North America. It is a great topping for pancakes and waffles as well as for yogurt. You can use it as a sweetener for porridge and as a liquid sweetener in pies or make a glaze for cake.