Saturday, January 23, 2010

How Well Do We Know Sugar?

Sugar is an old culinary ingredient popularly used as a sweetener. It is the white powdery substance that comes from the plants sugar cane and sugar beet. Aside from a natural sweetener, to improve the flavor and natural color of canned and frozen fruits, sugar is used.

History and Production of Sugar

People before has to chew raw sugarcane to directly extract sweetness until the Indians discovered the methods in transforming sugarcane into granulated crystals. This early method of refining sugar involved pounding, boiling and drying. The human appreciation of the sweet taste has created a demand in the making of more sugar in the world. Sugar provides the balance of sweet taste in food.

The Kinds of Sugar

Here are several kinds of sugars popular in the market today. The different details might help you know your sugar more and would help you find just the right choice.

White Sugar, or the "granulated sugar", is the sugar we mainly use in the kitchen. It is also known as plain sugar and is commonly used in sweetening beverages. White sugar comes in granulated or in finer form as confectioner's sugar that is generally used for icing.

Caster Sugar or "superfine sugar", is the one used by bakers and bartenders. It has a fine grind that is easy to dissolve and easy to cream making it ideal for baking and in sweetening mixed drinks, like that of Domino Superfine Bar Sugar for Cocktails You too can use caster or castor sugar for your homemade pastry and appetizing drinks.

Raw Sugar, is called "raw" as sugar is processed at a minimal amount removing impurities, so the natural molasses content are retained intact bringing out the strong and deep flavor of sugar to food. Examples of raw sugar are the brown sugars.

Brown Sugar, is everyone's convenient choice. It is the light brown sugar crystallized via dehydration where the molasses remain intact making it naturally moist from the nature of the molasses present. Brown sugars are known to be less sweet than white sugar due to the mild bitter taste of molasses.

Moscuvado sugar is unrefined dark and rich brown sugar that is moist, sticky and aromatic with a strong flavor of molasses. Muscovado is also known as Barbados Sugar, and mostly used in baking for its brown intensifying effect to baked goods. Muscovado sugar is a prominent export commodity from the Philippines.

Sugar, Demerara, 10 Lb Bag/box Each
Demerara sugar is the type of "unrefined brown sugar" with a color of pale to golden yellow and crunchy large grains.  It has rich and creamy molasses flavor and aroma that it is popular in sweetening hot tea and coffee. The name Demerara is derived from its main source, the Demerara colony in Guyana. Demerara is not actually brown sugar? Read more.

Turbinado sugar, or "turbinated sugar" from steaming evaporated cane juice, has large brown crystals similar to brown sugar. It is said that Turbinado sugar and and Demerara sugar are the same.

Preserving Sugar, is the kind of sugar used in making preserves. Its sugar crystals are larger than those of granulated sugars  that dissolves more slowly reducing the risk of burning as sugar do not settle in the bottom of the pot, or froth up to the surface. This makes preserves clearer.

Gelling sugar
Gelling Sugar, or "sugar with pectin" is sugar used in producing preserves, using fruits that are high in pectin. Among these fruits are apples, blackberries, blackcurrants, cranberries, gooseberries, plums and redcurrants. Gelling sugar contains pectin as the gelling agent and citric acid as a preservative, while preserving sugar is all and 100% sugar.

You'll love this Lemon sugar by Rattlebridge Farm
Flavored Sugar, is regular sugar infused with high quality flavor essences. Spread over your favorite baguette or toast or simply enjoy  a flavored-sugar sprinkled dessert.
Sugar Cube or "decorative sugar cube" is regular white sugar decorated with spray food coloring, mainly used to sweeten favorite drinks and in recipes where sugar is artistically melted. This is an example of this type of sugar.

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