Table Sugar

What can I say? It’s the standard in much of the world. A medium-small crystal size (about 0.5 millimeters), this sugar is made from very pure (over 99%) sucrose so as to be free of non-sucrose flavors or colors. White table sugar can be made from sugarcane or beets, with cane sugar being preferred for baking and especially candy making. Vegan versions are made the same way as standard, save for the fact that they aren’t passed through charcoal filters, which contain bone meal. See below for more about how standard table sugar is made.


How Sugar is Made

How “Raw” Sugar is Made

I find “raw” to be a pretty weird term for sugar, since all table sugars are “cooked” in a sense — boiled or heated to evaporate moisture. After that it’s mostly a matter of removing the “non-sugar” substances. But as usual I’m ahead of myself.

Sugar processing, as I mentioned below, starts by harvesting, washing and pulping the sugarcane. At that point the cane is pressed to remove the sucrose-heavy juice. The next step is to heat the juice to remove the moisture. Traditionally this was done by boiling, but since long-term boiling is both fuel-intensive and can destroy some of the flavors in the by-products (i.e. the molasses), most cane juice these days is “cooked” in vacuum pans which get the job done at a lower temperature. After many hours the juice turns thick and brown as the residual plant bits brown and some of the non-sucrose sugars caramelize. The finished product is a thick, very low moisture liquid called “dark brown” syrup.