A Guide to Types of Sugar
Sugar is such an ordinary part of our diets that it’s hard to imagine how people lived without it for centuries. Back in the Middle Ages, sugar was considered to be a very expensive delicacy. But not everyone knows that there are lots of kinds of sugar that have their own features.
We at 5-Minute Crafts have made a guide on 10 types of sugar to help you know which types to use.
A few words about sugar
- A teaspoon of sugar contains 15 calories.
- It can’t spoil, even though it doesn’t contain preservatives.
- It has an influence not only on the taste of foods but also on the smell, shelf life, fermentation, color, moisture, and texture.
- It’s used not only in the food industry but also in medicine. It’s added to medications to make them less bitter.
- Sugar can be used to treat open wounds. It fights bacteria and can prevent inflammation.
- Most of the time, sugar is produced from sugar beet and sugar cane.
- Sugar cane is grown in tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world. It’s a giant grass that grows as high as 16 feet. The sugar itself is in the long stem of the plant and used as a source of reserve food for the plant.
- Sugar beet is a root crop that grows in more temperate parts of the world. In this plant, the sugar is stored in the root instead of the stem.
- The first refined sugar was made in India around 2,500 years ago. Later, the technology spread east to China and west to Persia. In the Mediterranean, sugar appeared around the thirteenth century and was considered a rare delicacy. The production of sugar played a huge part in the history of our civilization. It resulted in colonies, as massive migration of the population of Earth.
Granulated sugar is a multipurpose, highly refined sugar. It’s also called refined, table, or white sugar. When people talk about sugar, they usually mean this type.
Granulated sugar is produced from sugar cane and sugar beets. It’s the most common type used in baking and cooking.
Pearl sugar is a kind of white sugar with a rough texture. Such sugar retains its shape and doesn’t melt at high temperatures. Pearl sugar is usually used in Scandinavian baking and to decorate pastries and buns.
Caster sugar is superfine, granulated, white sugar. Because the crystals are so fine, they dissolve much faster than standard sugar, which makes a powder, great for making meringues, syrups, and cocktails.
This is a fine powder dyed in different colors. To prevent clumping, it contains a bit of corn starch. Such sugar quickly dissolves in liquids and is perfect for making icing and frosting, as well as decorating baked goods.
Demerara sugar is a type of raw cane sugar that is minimally refined. It has large grains with an amber color and a natural, subtle molasses flavor. It’s best used in coffee and tea and in muffins, buns, biscuits, and cakes.
Muscovado sugar, also referred to as Barbados sugar, is a variety of unrefined cane sugar in which the molasses isn’t removed. It can be dark or light, has a sticky sandy texture, and has a rich, complex flavor. Even though it can be used instead of brown sugar, its taste is much more powerful. It’s used for barbecue sauce, marinades, and salty meals.
Turbinado is another type of minimally refined raw cane sugar. This type of sugar has large crystals or brown color, and it’s often mistaken for standard brown sugar because of its color but they are not the same. Turbinado has a tender caramel taste and is usually used in drinks and pastries.
Light brown sugar
Light brown sugar is refined white sugar with a small amount of molasses. It has a wet, sandy texture and is a bit less sticky than muscovado. It has a tender caramel taste. It can be used for pastries and for salty meals.
Dark brown sugar
Like its lighter counterpart, dark brown sugar is refined white sugar with molasses. It contains more molasses than light brown sugar, which gives it a more powerful and intense flavor. Light brown and dark brown types of sugar can be used interchangeably.
Unlike granulated sugar made from sugar cane and beets, cane sugar is made solely from sugar cane and it’s minimally refined. It’s bigger, darker, and more expensive. Use this type of sugar like granulated sugar.