Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sugar, Sugar and more Sugar - An introduction

    Green Earth
    Enjoy the flowers, birds, bees and the clear blue sky.
    Tips is enjoying the outdoors and will be back next post

Why are we are sorrounded by sweet products that exclusively use corn syrup when there are so many varieties of natural sweeteners available and which do not carry the same health risks? Most processed foods, drinks use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) - the sweetener made from corn which is cheaper to produce than sugar made from sugar cane or sugar beets.

Jaggery and Palm Sugar Blocks

Sugar is made from either Sugar Cane or Sugar Beets. In the US, half of the Sugar production is from Sugar Beets whereas in India Sugar Beet is just getting introduced to supplement Sugar Cane. India is the second largest producer of sugar from sugar cane next only to Brazil. Sugar made from the sap of the Palm tree called Palm Sugar is also available.

Palm Sugar Crystals

The common form of sugar used in most households is the highly refined white sugar also called sucrose that is very easily digested. Though refined sugar has its place in the kitchen today, its almost exclusive use as a sweetener is not without its pitfalls. Replacing white refined sugar is not very difficult or impossible. Here is a list of sugars and sugar products that I have in my kitchen today.

Most of these natural sugars have healthful properties, we were advised as kids to eat roasted peanuts with a bit of palm sugar to avoid tummy aches which is common when large quantities of peanuts are consumed. Jaggery uses in Ayurvedic is well known. This provides a stark contrast to the health problems assoicated with the refined sugar or corn syrup.

Brown Sugar (from India)

Sugar and few of their uses
1. Palm Sugar Crystals(Panang Kalkandu)
Use it for sweetener for Milk, Oatmeals, Pongal
2. Palm Sugar (Karupatti)
Use in coffee, curries
3. Jaggery (Vellam)
Pongal, curries,
4. Brown Sugar (Karumbu sarkarai)
Cakes, curries, oatmeal, Pancakes
5. Molasses
Cakes, Oatmeal

Maple Sugar Syrup, Molasses (bottles flipped)

6. Maple Syrup
7. Turbinado Sugar
Coffee, tea, milk, cakes, cookies
8. White Refined Sugar
Cookies, Cakes

Refined Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, Honey

9. Honey
Smoothies, pancakes,cakes


  1. Nice post..Day by day the use of artificial sweeteners is increasing

  2. thats a nice compilation of sweeteners. I use panang kalkandu and the turbinado sugar.

    Btw do you remove the impurities from karupatti and use it or use it directly ?

  3. That's a great treatise on sugar, ISG! If that's just the intro, I can't wait to see what's next :)

  4. Good one Indo, yeah the HFCS in almost everything especially the kid's edible products gets me.
    Shall try your palm crystals to sweeten my tea :)

  5. That is a great article Indo...Someone has a real sweet tooth, 10 types of sweetners huh? :)
    I use agave nectar in lot of recipes, supposed to have lower glycemic index than sugar.

  6. good one thanks for sharing

  7. Palm sugar is new to me- it looks dark and flavorful. I'll be on the look out for palm sugar crystals too. I have stopped buying brown sugar (the kind sold in US supermarkets these days)- I just mix molasses with white sugar to "make" brown sugar in any recipe as required, because the manufacturers make brown sugar the same way.
    You have quite a variety of sweeteners in your pantry! The only one I have on hand that is not here is agave nectar.

  8. I have drastically reduced the use of white sugar in my kitchen. I prepare a bottle of jaggery syrup and use it to replace sugar. Have you tried using jaggery in place of sugar while preparing tea? I love the flavor.

    Honey, jaggery and date paste are my choice of sweetners. Informative post on sweetners, ISG.:)

  9. Revathi, if they are added to make a sweet the impurities should be removed but otherwise no.

    Palm Crystals should make your tea taste fantastic.

    Sig, I sure do, but I don't have all of them in the pantry at the same time , this is all sent from India by mom and it seemed like a good idea to write a post. Agave Nectar - when I run out of sweetners and it has been on the list to try.

    Linda I will keep you guessing :)

    notyet100, Welcome!

    Nupur, I have and read about agave nectar, I have to get some and try. I don't buy Brown Sugar here, the ones I have are from India and they are called Karumbu sarkarai literally meaning sugar cane sugar also called Naatu Sarkarai and is unbleached sugar.

    Sailaja, it is amazing how we keep returning to our classic foods. Me too have completely taken out white sugar from our diet. Brown Sugar the Indian kind or jaggery tastes great with tea - yes!

  10. that bowl of brown sugar looks soooo good, isg! i like to use turbinado for my everyday use!

  11. Absolut ASL4/28/08, 1:14 PM

    Hai friend,

    Very good recipies, proffestional photographs, nice layout,whats else visitor needs, you have got it all,keep growing.


    "Recipie writer/Blog contributors wanted" - Absolut ASL


  12. That was realy nice to see so many forms of sugar....Useful info...

  13. Thanks for the education. Very much appreciated. In addition to the brown sugar grown here in the Caribbean, I also stock up on jaggery and Thai palm sugar whenever I travel abroad.

  14. Jaggery also has a higher iron content. I stopped using brown sugar long ago. Light jaggery works just fine.

  15. indo thats a nice post on sugar!...and many happy returns of the day!..why no post today?

  16. indo, we recently bought pomegranate molasses from the afghan store. try it. you'll love it.

  17. Simply wonderful post, Indo! Such valuable information. Greatly appreciated. :)

  18. Indo
    Your blog turned two !!! Congrats. Sri's comment and linda's post made me aware :)

  19. Indo
    Your blog turned two !!! Congrats. Sri's comment and linda's post made me aware :)

  20. This post is so helped me out in sorting the difference b/w panang kalkandu and brown sugar. Thank You!!!

  21. Lavi, thanks for letting me know. I am so glad that the post helped you.


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