Desire for sweet taste is inherent in every individual. Sugar is used extensively in cooking in the preparation of processed food products, flavoured syrups, non-alcoholic beverages etc to increase the palatability.

In a non-scientific term the sugar refers to sucrose also called as table sugar or saccharine what is available on the table is either from sugar cane or beet sugar.

Sugars and jaggery:

Types of sugar :

(i)Raw sugar: This is the yellow to brown sugar which is made from boiled clarified cane juice with minimal chemical processing. The raw sugar result from the processing of sugar beet juice but only as intermediate to white sugar.

Types of raw sugar :

  • Demerara
  • Muscovado
  • Turbinado.

The sugar cakes or loaves from the raw sugar is called as jaggery or Gur in India.

(ii) Milled white sugar: This also called as plantation sugar superior sugar. The raw sugar where the production process does not remove coloured impurities, but rather bleaches out to white by exposure to sulphur dioxide.

This is most common form of sugar in sugar cane growing areas but if does not store well the impurities tend to promote discoloration after a few weeks and clumping can also occur.

(iii) Blanco directo : It is white sugar in which many impurities are precipitated from sugar cane juice after phosphotization i.e, the treatment with phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide. In terms of sucrose purity, the sugar is more pure than milled white sugar but less pure than white refined sugar.

(iv) White refined sugar: It is the most refined sugar in Europe. Refined sugar can be made by dissolving raw sugar and purifying it with phosphoric acid method (similar to that of Blanco directo) power by simply carbonation process involving calcium hydroxide and carbon dioxide by various filtration processes. It is then father decolourised rise by filtration through a bed of activated carbon or bone char. it is sold as typical granulated sugar which has been dried and added with food additives for preventing clumping. White sugar comes in various crystal sizes.

  • Coarse grain sugar (sandling sugar /nibbed sugar/Sugar nibs ) it is used for decorating cookies and other desserts.
  • Normal granulated sugars for table use : green sizes of 0.5 mm.
  • Final grades result in :
  • Castor sugar – 0.35 mm (baking purpose )
  • superfine sugar  – (Berry sugar /bar sugar ) used for sweetening drinks and also for preparation of meringue.
  • Finest grain (powdered sugar )
  • Confectionery sugar – 0.60 mm
  • Icing sugar – 0.24 mm

(v) Brown sugar : This comes from the later stages of sugar refining where sugar forms five crystals along with significant amounts of molasses. Brown sugar can also be made by coating white refined sugar with molasses, where colour and taste becomes stronger with increasing molasses content. This sugar tends to harden if exposed to the atmosphere.

Sugars and jaggery:

Role of sugar in cookery :

  • It is used as sweetening agents in desserts, ice creams and beverages like coffee, tea, milkshake, juices and Sweets. 
  • It is used in a form of syrup in preparation of sweets like gulab jamun in rasgulla.
  • In high concentration it prevents the growth of microorganisms. This principle is used in preserving jams and jellies.
  • Caramel sugar is used in pudding to improve colour and flavour.
  • It is used in making bread to increase the fermentation of yeast.
  • It gives not only sweetness but also body to the products like jams, Puddings  fondant and ice cream.
  • It helps in improving the texture of cake and confectionary.

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