Sugar is a form of carbohydrate found naturally in fruits and vegetables. Commercially, it is extracted from sugarcane and sugar beets, both of which contain a very high percentage of sucrose. Mention any dessert or a sweet recipe, and it is guaranteed that sugar is one of the key preparation ingredients. It is also added in tea and coffee, with which many of us start our day. Taking all this into consideration, it won't be wrong to consider it as one of the most common substances found in the kitchen shelf.
Besides cooking, it is also added for preserving food items, and also for lengthening the shelf life of cut flowers. Other uses include igniting grill, inducing flowers to bloom quickly, maintaining outdoor plants, removing paints, and killing household pests. It also proves to be effective in reducing painful symptoms of a burned tongue and acne outbreaks. Let's discuss more about its different types and their characteristics.
Be it beverages, cakes, pastries, or cookies, sugar is used in varied amounts, depending upon the intensity of sweetness required for that particular recipe. It is available in large varieties, each of which is characterized by a specific color, flavor, sweetness, granule size, and mode of production. While using it in food recipes, the size of the crystals are used to determine the appropriate amount to be added in cooking. Some of the common types include:
Table Sugar: The most popularly used household variety is table, white, or granulated sugar. It is sucrose, and is available in varied crystal sizes. When it is moistened and compressed into molds, it forms sugar cubes.
Caster: Also known as castor, it is an extra fine variety. The small granules dissolve instantly in a solution, making it an excellent sweetening agent for cold beverages. The name caster is given with respect to the grain size; its grains can easily pass through a caster, a form of sieve.
Powdered: It is also referred to as confectioner's sugar. In the process of making, the granules are first ground mechanically to make a powder form, which is then treated with starch (in specific concentration) to avoid caking or clumping together.
Coarse-grain: The crystal size of coarse-grain variety is more than that of regular table one. It is the crystallized form of sugar syrups that contain high amounts of sucrose. Coarse-grain or sanding variety is especially sprinkled on top of cookies, biscuits, and cakes. Hence, it is often known by the name, decorating sugar.
Brown: In contrary to the white (or table) variety, the brown type retains some amount of molasses, thus imparting a characteristic flavor and brown color to the crystals. Based on the degree of molasses content, it is available in two types, namely light brown (light color with a lesser molasses content), and dark brown (deep color with strong molasses flavor).
Raw Sugar: It is a brown, sticky type produced before skimming out the molasses. The cane juice is boiled, evaporated, and then recrystallized to make it. As expected, it is not processed properly, and hence, may contain certain impurities. Some examples include turbinado and barbados sugar.
Liquid Sugar: It is nothing but the solution form of white sugar. It is used in recipes that call for a dissolved variety. To make it, regular white sugar is dissolved in water at a higher temperature. Invert sugar is another subtype that contains glucose and fructose in equal proportions.
Of all the varieties, some are used by professional bakers for making sweet items in large amounts. In addition to the aforementioned plant-based types, you can also use non-carbohydrate artificial ones, which are promoted as effective sweeteners to help maintain blood glucose levels.