Friday, December 13, 2013

Stephanie's Food For Thought: Turbinado Sugar

What is turbinado sugar?  Wise Geek explains "Turbinado sugar is made by taking the first pressing of juice from sugar cane and slowly heating it to evaporate the water out of it. This causes it to crystallize. To complete the drying process, the crystals are then spun in turbines or centrifuges. In contrast, white sugar is often much more heavily processed, and is generally made white by using a decolorizing filter like bone char to remove its natural color. Likewise, much brown sugar is actually white sugar with molasses added back into it to color it."  The information can be found here.  It further explains "Some believe that turbinado sugar is a healthier alternative to other sweeteners because it undergoes less processing, and so retains more of the nutrients found in sugar cane juice. In addition, its method of production makes it suitable for vegans, since no animal byproducts are used. A teaspoon (about 4 grams) contains about a fair amount of calcium and potassium in addition to a negligible amount of iron. A cup (250 g) of this sweetener also contains magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium."  I had a friend years ago explain to me that she read a book about the link between refined sugar production and the advent of vitamin production, the idea is since producers were removing vitamins and minerals from sugar cane to create refined sugar they would then create vitamin and mineral supplements.  I wish I could find the name of the book she wrote, I'm sorry but I couldn't find it.  Anyway what I wanted to find was a less refined sugar, a sugar that has more of the inherent goodness in sugar cane, turbinado sugar is a less refined sugar than brown and white sugar.  We use turbinado sugar as a replacement for both white and brown sugar.  We have enjoyed the flavor and texture it brings to cookies, pancakes, and I blended it to make it more of a powder is hot chocolate mix.  I buy a 6 lb bag of turbinado sugar, like the one pictured above at Costco for about $8. 

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