Cane sugar is a product made from sugarcane, which grows in tropical climates with abundant rainfall. The main use of cane is for making sugar, but its production is non-wasteful — the residue is used to make furniture, building material, and more. Ultimately, this well-known sweetener is used in beverages, food, and baked goods. But how is cane sugar made? Is it really healthier than white beet sugar? We will try to answer all of these questions in this peace.
How To Grow Sugarcane
Sugarcane is a perennial with a root system that is located in the top layer of soil. The stems reach up to 6 meters in height. Outwardly, it resembles bamboo and wild cane. In the middle belt, it is grown as an annual plant. When the soil warms up to 12 degrees, you can start sowing. Sprouts will appear in two weeks. If the cane is grown under favorable conditions, it is not exposed to diseases and grows quickly. When growing sugarcane, It is sufficient to water it three times a week, and to perform weed control until the plant reaches half a meter in height and will be able to get rid of weeds on its own, taking useful substances from the soi. Aerated soil has a good effect on the growth rate of sugarcane, especially for young plants. In three to four months, the sugar cane will begin to mature.
Processing Sugar Cane
Cane sugar without additional processing is unfit for consumption and further storage. Therefore, additional processing or refining is considered the optimal cycle to complete the production of cane sugar.
The technology for making sugar from cane is similar to the method for making sugar from sugar beet. Both raw material processing technologies include several identical steps:
- Grinding the product
- Obtaining juice from the product
- Purification of the juice from impurities
- Thickening the juice to syrup concentration by evaporation
- Crystallization of the concentrate and conversion into sugar
- Drying of the finished product.
Types of Cane Sugar
Unlike the white sugar beet raffinate, a sugarcane plantation can provide for cane sugar of two kinds — refined and unrefined.
Refined Cane Sugar
It is no different from bee sugar. It is just as white and possesses identical culinary properties, taste, and composition. If we put cane sugar and beet sugar in neighboring cups, we would never be able to find the difference between them.
Unrefined Cane Sugar
And here the difference is substantial. Mainly thanks to the substance called molasses, unrefined cane sugar is of a brownish color and has an additional set of useful properties and flavors.
Cane Sugar Vs. Beet Sugar
Refined cane sugar is almost indistinguishable from its refined beet analog. But when it comes to unrefined cane sugar, there is a difference. Molasses, a component of sugar cane, contains plant fibers and useful substances such as calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and B vitamins. In beet raffinad they are present in very small doses or are absent altogether.
Benefits and Harm of Cane Sugar
We are used to seeing regular beet sugar as a source of glucose, a sweet taste and nothing more. But its darker analog due to the presence of molasses contains fiber, vitamins B4, B5 and B6, calcium, selenium, copper, sodium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. Therefore, the refusal of white sugar in favor of brown sugar can transform simple tea drinking into the saturation of the body with beneficial minerals and trace elements.
After becoming acquainted with the chemical composition of molasses, there is a temptation to consume brown sugar in large quantities in order to prevent disease. But the benefits and harms of unrefined cane sugar peacefully coexist in each grain just as they do in ordinary white sugar.
The glucose content of different kinds of sugar is virtually the same. The high caloric content of excessive sugar consumption leads to obesity, degeneration of liver tissue, increased cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease, development of diabetes, increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, occurrence of dental cavities.
The optimal daily intake of any type of sugar is about six teaspoons, taking into account the glucose in various foods. Considering the benefits of the individual components of unrefined sugar, it is better to give preference to this product.