Things you did not know about brown sugar
All types of brown sugar are sugar crystals containing molasses – dark syrup present in the sugar cane, which is rich in minerals and vitamins. The molasses is a by-product in refining sugar.
The difference between different types of brown sugar primarily lies in the content of the molasses. Typically, brown sugar comes more often from sugar cane than sugar beet (which is sometimes used for obtaining white sugar).
The obtaining process is the following: juice is extracted from the sugar cane and boiled until the whole water evaporates, at which point crystals rich in molasses are produced.
Demerara sugar and turbinado sugar are similar in texture and colour. To produce these, crystals rich in molasses are rotated in centrifuge to dry and remove the excess of plant extracts, leaving granules of light brown or yellow brownish colour. Demerara is with a slight aroma of molasses, while Turbinado characterizes with a honey aroma. Both of these are great sweeteners for coffee, tea, pastries and sweet delicatessen.
Muscovado dark (the so-called Barbados sugar), from Britain, is the darkest of all types of brown sugar and contains the highest concentration of molasses. It is dried at a low temperature and sometimes in the sun (Muscovado is not rotated in centrifuge). This procedure leaves a great amount of plant material in the sugar, resulting in a strong aroma of molasses and sticky consistency. The types of sugar known as light brown or dark brown are obtained by returning molasses to refined sugar. To obtain white sugar, the unrefined crystals are dissolved in warm water until they form syrup, which is then filtered to remove the excess plant material from the natural sucrose. The syrup is boiled; it evaporates once again until crystals are formed and is then rotated in centrifuge to dry.
Although there is no regulation determining the amount of molasses in the sugar so as to categorize it as light or dark brown, most producers put 3% molasses in light brown and 6% in the dark brown sugar. Molasses contains a high concentration of vitamins and minerals which are naturally present in the sugar cane. It is especially valued due to the rich content of iron, as well as other important minerals, such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. It is this composition which justifies the use of brown unrefined sugar as a healthy substitute to white sugar.
Why is brown sugar better:
- Molasses in the sugar contains vital vitamins and minerals such as: iron, calcium, magnesium and vitamin B6.
- It contains fewer calories compared to the refined white sugar because its composition includes liquids filled with macronutrients.
- The unique taste of the molasses gives a pleasant aroma of caramel.
- Reduced intake of energy with one teaspoon of brown sugar because this sugar occupies more volume with a smaller mass.