Brown cane sugar is basically sugar which is rich in molasses. It involves the boiling of the sugarcane juice, filtering it and later spinning the crystals in a centrifuge process. Unlike white sugar which undergoes additional processing and granulation in order to remove the molasses and make the sugar finer – brown sugar does not undergo any such processing. Thus in short brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added. In the production of white sugar on the other hand all the natural vitamins and minerals are stripped away during the refining process. This explains the reason why refined food is broken down quickly in the body leading to a rapid spike in the blood sugar. On an average around 60 different chemicals are used in the manufacturing of white sugar at multiple levels.
Different types of brown sugar
Following are the different brown cane sugar varieties:
Refined brown sugar
This is made by adding molasses back to the refined white sugar. You can find it in the market as commercial brown sugar and is soft and moist in texture.
Partially refined / unrefined brown sugar
This sugar variety carries some molasses from the original sugar refining process. Depending on its origin and the refining process, unrefined brown sugar is labelled as raw, natural, factory, muscavado, turbinado, demerara etc. Unrefined brown sugar is not as soft and moist as the refined varieties.
Likewise based on the molasses content, brown sugar is further divided into dark brown sugar and light brown/ golden sugar. While dark brown sugar contains 6.5% molasses, the molasses content is 3.5% in case of golden brown sugar.
It is partially processed raw sugar, where only the surface molasses has been washed off. It has mild brown sugar flavor and is blond in color. Usually turbinado sugar is used in tea and other beverages.
Barbados / Muscovado sugar
This is a British specialty brown sugar. It is particularly strong molasses flavor and is very dark brown in color. As compared to the “regular” brown sugars, this variety is slightly stickier and coarser.
Another variety of brown sugar, which is quite popular in England – Demerara sugar is light brown in color with large golden crystals. Just like turbinado sugar, this variety too is used in beverages and on the top of hot cereals.
Free flowing brown sugar
This is a specialty product which is produced by co-crystallization process. It is fine, powder-like brown sugar but relatively less moist than the “regular” brown sugars. As it is less moist, the free-flowing brown sugar does not clump unlike the other brown cane sugar varieties.
Due to the presence of water, brown cane sugar has a slightly lower caloric value by mass than brown sugar. 100Gms of white sugar has 396 calories, while the same amount of brown sugar contains 373 calories. Also unlike white sugar, this sugar variety is not laced with industrial addictives like phosphoric acid, activated carbon, calcium hydroxide and sulphur dioxide. As already mentioned the usual industrial process of removing the molasses is not done in the case of brown sugar, this is why it has presence of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and iron which helps the body reach mineral equilibrium. Thus as compared to white sugar, brown sugar has more nutritional value and therefore beneficial for health. There are many dietians who recommend the use of brown cane sugar on a regular basis.
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