[Sca-cooks] Sugar: Was A Sallet of all Kinds of Hearbes and Cucumbers

Elise Fleming alysk at ix.netcom.com
Fri Jul 30 05:47:25 PDT 2010

Katherine wrote:

>... I have a sugary question I have been pondering.  I've now read a 
>few instructions in apothocary type handbooks that tell you how to 
>clean sugar with egg whites.  I got really curious when I saw someone 
>make an egg-white 'raft' on the cooking channel and had the a-ha 
 >moment when I saw how it floated up the mirepoix particulate matter in
 >the stock that was being prepared.  Has anyone here tried to do that
 >with a sugar cone?  I would have to go back and read it, but is the
 >sugar allowed to re-crystallize?  Is the sugar whiter?

I _think_ that clarifying sugar to get rid of impurities left during 
processing is different than the initial purification/refining process 
of making a whiter and whiter sugar.  Memory of reading books on the 
medieval process says that animal blood or charcoal was used in the 
initial process of processing sugar and making it into sugar cones.  The 
egg white process would be what the "home cook" would do to make it more 
useful for the desired dish.  I'm not sure that it's a good analogy, but 
we get foods such as mushrooms which have been harvested for use (think 
sugar cones) but we still have to trim ends and wash off dirt 
(clarifying sugar) before we can use them in a prepared dish.

As to re-crystallizing...Anyone got the facts?  My guess is that if the 
sugar was supposed to be in a liquid form for the recipe (such as making 
a fruit paste or candying seeds), there would be no need to let it 
re-crystallize.  Sugar to be sprinkled on as decoration wouldn't need 
clarification, nor would sugar added to provide sweetness (to a sauce, 
for instance).

Off the top of my head, I don't recall any recipes where sugar, to be 
used in granules in a prepared dish, is clarified.  I've usually seen 
clarification called for when a syrup or a liquid is wanted.  The only 
one I can think of that might call for clarification (where the result 
is a sugar crystal) would be rock candy, and that went through a 
liquid/syrup form before being re-crystallized.

Alys K.
Elise Fleming
alysk at ix.netcom.com

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