[Sca-cooks] A Sallet of all Kinds of Hearbes and Cucumbers (Sugar Related)

Elise Fleming alysk at ix.netcom.com
Fri Jul 30 12:47:49 PDT 2010

Urtatim and I wrote:

Alys wrote:
 > >For the sake of argument and fussiness (OK, anal-retentive!) I would
 > >question whether brown sugar was used.  Modern brown sugar has some
 > >molasses put back into it...

 >This may have been true once upon a time, and may still be with some
 >rare sugar products. But the vast majority of brown sugar products in
 >USAmerican supermarkets does not have added molasses to color the
 >otherwise white sugar. On most packages it says that the sugar is
 >colored with caramel or caramel coloring, which can be more white
 >sugar which has been cooked and caramelized.

My packages don't have any list for caramel coloring, just sugars (of 
which molasses is one).  Perhaps I shouldn't have said "put back into 
it".  That would, indeed, imply that that there was white sugar with 
molasses then added back.  Sorry to have been that unclear.  In any 
case, brown sugar hasn't gotten to the white sugar stage in refining 
because there still is that "molasses" content.  In medieval times, 
sugar was processed to varying colors, but (IIRC) all of them hard 
enough to form a cone.  Now, I can get my brown sugar to dry out hard, 
but that wasn't how the sugar cones were formed.  Internet searching 
shows the following.

  Wikipedia says there still is molasses 
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_sugar): Brown sugar is a sucrose 
sugar product with a distinctive brown color due to the presence of 
molasses. It is either an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar 
consisting of sugar crystals with some residual molasses content, or it 
is produced by the addition of molasses to refined white sugar.

Brown sugar contains from 3.5% molasses (light brown sugar) to 6.5% 
molasses (dark brown sugar). The product is naturally moist from the 
hygroscopic nature of the molasses and is often labelled as "soft." The 
product may undergo processing to give a product that flows better for 
industrial handling. The addition of dyes and/or other chemicals may be 
permitted in some areas or for industrial products.

 From Big Oven: http://www.bigoven.com/whatis.aspx?id=Brown%20Sugar

Brown sugars (light and dark) are produced from a blending of white 
sugar and natural or processed molasses. They are made from sugar cane 
or sugar beets and add a delicate sweet flavor to a wide range of foods.


Light (golden) and dark brown sugars are classified as either sticky or 
free-flowing. Most of the mass-produced products are a blend of 
purified, or refined, sugar and molasses. Raw cane sugars that have a 
brown coating also fall into this category.

Piloncillo (little pylons) is a Mexican unrefined brown sugar with no 
molasses, but is similar in taste to American versions. The compressed 
hard cone can be scraped with a serrated knife. It is sold as light or dark.

In India, palm, or jaggery, sugar is the brown sugar used most. It is 
available in hard cones or in pourable form and also is very popular in 
Thai recipes.

Other derivatives of raw brown sugars are labeled “muscavado,” 
“turbinado,” and “demerera.” These must be refined to some extent for 
sale in the U.S. to remove impurities and bacteria.

Elise Fleming
alysk at ix.netcom.com

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