Green plants make sugar through the process of photosynthesis. They transform the sun’s energy into food. Photosynthesis uses energy from sun to convert water and carbon dioxide into glucose (sugar) and oxygen. The glucose or sugar that is created from photosynthesis is used by the plant for growth, flower formation, and fruit development.
Of all plant types that produce glucose, sugar beets and sugar cane have the greatest quantities of sugar. This is the reason they are the most common plants from which sugar is extracted. The sugar that’s extracted from the sugar beet or sugar cane plants is identical to the sugar that you find in a fruit or vegetable, however, the granular form does go through a bit of processing, as opposed to the completely natural sweet found in a peach or apple.
Sugar cane is a tall, thick perennial grass that typically grows in tropical regions. The sugar that is synthesized in the leaves is used as a source of energy for plant growth and the excess is sent to the stalks for storage. The stalks of the sugar cane are the source of sugar that we use in food production.
The sugar beet is a beetroot variety with the highest sugar content. The beetroot is the taproot portion of a beet plant, one of several cultivated varieties of Beta vulgaris grown for its edible taproots and leaves. The sugar beet is specifically cultivated for its delicious root and greens, as well as for the sugar extracted from the plant. Sugar beets provide us with several sugar products beyond refined white sugar and raw sugar. These include sweet sorghum, sugar maple, honey, and corn sugar.
What is Raw Sugar?
Raw sugar is a granular and very coarse-textured sugar product displaying a light amber color. The tiny sugar cubes or grains of sugar give off a sparkly, amber appearance. When you taste it, you will appreciate the small amount of residual molasses that is retained in raw sugar processing giving it a sweet, caramel flavor.
Yes, raw sugar is processed. One might assume from the name that raw sugar is not processed, but this is not true. Raw sugar is melted and filtered to remove impurities, retaining a bit of the molasses residue, giving it the amber color, and the beautiful caramel flavor we love.
Raw sugar is often served in coffee shops and restaurants with coffee and tea. In food preparation, it’s often used as a finishing sugar. When sprinkled on desserts just prior to baking, raw sugar gives appetizing taste and appearance to the finished pastry. It also lovely as topping for fruit and berries.
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