Friday, March 12, 2010

Let's Talk Sweets...

Now that beets are grown from Monsanto Franken-seed, I make sure that I only purchase cane sugar. Better yet, I purchase one of the many forms of evaporated cane juice. Evaporated Cane Juice is better than cane sugar because it has gone through less processing to get the end product. You can use the cane syrup instead of corn syrup or use Agave Nectar if you need a thicker product.

Evaporated cane juice is desirable because it is just like sugar, so you can use it for sweetening foods and beverages as well as in cooking. Since it is considered to be more wholesome, it is also used as a sweetener in a host of processed, natural foods. It may also be known by a variety of other names including dried cane juice, crystallized cane juice, milled cane sugar and direct consumption sugar. In Europe it is known as "unrefined sugar". While sugar is not good for your body, unrefined sugar has far less to be worried about. Refined sugars are stripped of anything that resembles nutrition while evaporated cane juice has some nutrients that you should be aware of:
Nutrients in 1 oz of sugar



% of DV





0.20 g



27.40 g


insoluble fiber

0.71 g

   sugar – total

25.71 g


0.19 g


0.66 g


riboflavin - B2

0.16 mg


niacin - B3

0.20 mg


pantothenic acid

0.09 mg




32.57 mg



0.09 mg



0.57 mg



2.49 mg



0.09 mg



0.01 mg


162.86 mg


*This nutrient profile, while not complete, is derived from Food Processor for Windows, by ESHA Research in Salem, Oregon, USA.

Evaporated cane juice is available in a variety of forms that vary in texture and flavor, although they share the characteristic of being darker in color than white refined sugar(the darker color, just like in wheat means there might be some nutrition involved!):

Rapadura: Is the pure juice extracted from the sugar cane (using a press), which is then evaporated over low heats, while being stirred with paddles, then sieve ground to produce a grainy sugar. It has not been cooked at high heats, and spun to change it into crystals, and the molasses has not been separated from the sugar. It is produced organically, and does not contain chemicals or anti-caking agents.

Sucanat: Stands for Sugar Cane Natural. It's made by simply crushing freshly cut sugar cane, extracting the juice and heating it in a large vat. They do separate the sugar and molassas during evaporation but it is reunited in the end. It is very similar to sugar in texture but has a light brown color like Demerara. It has less nutrients than Rapadura since it is processed a bit more but it is a product that is easier to find in stores.

Demerara: This sugar is light brown and has irregularly grained, slightly-sticky crystals that feature a noticeable molasses flavor This sugar is made by crushing the freshly-cut sugar cane to squeeze out the juice, rich in, vitamins and minerals. The cane juice is evaporated and spun in a centrifuge, or turbine, to produce the large sparkling golden crystals. It can be used just like regular sugar in your recipes. It is sometimes referred to as Turbinado which has slightly different processing

Turbinado: The crystals tend to be large and have an off-white color. Sugar in the Raw is this type of sugar and you may have seen it at coffee shops, even if you haven’t noticed the name “turbinado” before. It works in place of plain sugar in just about all recipes. This sugar is made by crushing the freshly-cut sugar cane to squeeze out the juice, rich in, vitamins and minerals. The cane juice is heat-evaporated and spun in a centrifuge, or turbine, to remove the molassas and give it a dryer texture. It can be used just like regular sugar in your recipes.

Muscovado: A very fine crystal sugar that has a very distinctive molasses flavor. It is pure, unrefined, non-centrifugal cane sugar. It is dark brown in color and is sticky. Muscovado retains all of the natural ingredients of sugar cane juice making it an unrefined sweetener. Although commonly used in Latin America and Southeast Asia, these products are relatively difficult to find in the US. Many people compare muscovado to brown sugar, and while there are similarities in its flavor and use, they are two totally different products. Muscovado still contains the original components of the raw sugar cane plant while brown sugar is made from refined white sugar with a small amount of molasses added to it. This makes it a great substitute for dark brown sugar in recipes.

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