Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Sugar Saga

Just how many types of sugar are there?

Well, first there are the various sugars that are found in our bodies. Only chemists are interested in those.

Let's move on to the sugars that are used in making desserts!

Sugar comes from either the sugar beet or sugarcane.

Most sugar comes from sugarcane.  Sugarcane, believe it or not, is a grass, cultivated for the sucrose found in its stems. When harvested, the stems are sent to a processing plant, where they are milled and the juice extracted using water, or by a process known as diffusion. The juice is goes through a series of processes to kill enzyimes, and eventually ends up as a syrup, which goes through evaporators which allow the sugar crystals to separate out. (Molasses is a by-product of this procedure).

The resultant crystals of raw sugar are "brown sugar," they have a sticky brown coating. While some brown sugar is packaged for sale, most is bleached or treated by a carbonatation (yes, that is a word) process to produce the white table sugar most people are familiar with.

These sugars can be refined further.

Granulated sugars are what we are used to - otherwise known as table sugar, we use it in home baking or to sprinkle on food before eating, such as tomatoes.

Milled sugars are sugar granules that have been ground to a fine powder - and are thus known as powdered sugar or confectioner's sugar. These are used for icing, or for dusting various confectionery to add sweetness and for appearance.

This article sponsored by Luck's Food Decorating Company, wholesalers of edible images for cupcakes, and edible cake decorations.

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