Sugar, a crystalline substance used primarily as a sweetener in food and beverages, is derived chiefly from sugarcane and sugar beet. Being the most common form of carbohydrate, it usually refers to sucrose, a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose, and is found naturally in most fruits and vegetables. Commercially, it is available in a range of types including granulated, powdered, and brown sugar, each having specific culinary applications. The extraction and processing of sugar date back to ancient India, and its production has become an essential industry globally. Although providing a quickly available source of energy, excessive consumption of sugar has been linked to various health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay, leading to the increased use of alternative sweeteners.
CAL / 100G
Sugar FAQ
When it comes to cooking with sugar, there's more to it than simply sweetening your food. One of the most common areas where people go wrong with sugar is in burning it. Sugar caramelizes at a relatively low temperature, so it's easy to go from sweet and flavorful to bitter and burnt in no time. Adding it too early to a dish can cause other ingredients to burn, so it's best saved for later stages of cooking. Getting the most out of sugar involves understanding the different types and their uses. For example, caster sugar dissolves rapidly, making it ideal for drinks and fine baking, whilst brown sugar adds fantastic flavor to baked goods and savory sauces due to its molasses content. Raw sugar, with its large crystals, creates delightful crunch on muffin tops and cookies. An interesting kitchen hack: If you don't have icing sugar at home, you can make your own by processing granulated sugar in a blender until it's a fine powder.
Why is my homemade caramel sauce grainy?
What's the difference between white sugar and raw sugar?
Can I substitute brown sugar for white sugar in a recipe?
Why does my sugar harden after storing and how can I soften it?
Why are my cookies spreading too much?
Can I cut sugar from my baking recipes?
Is caster sugar the same as granulated sugar?
What can I use if I don't have powdered sugar for frosting?
Why did my sugar syrup crystallize?
What's the difference between muscovado, demerara, and turbinado sugar?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does sugar expire?
Sugar, when unopened and stored in a cool, dry place, can essentially remain safe and usable indefinitely. It has an indefinite shelf life due to its inability to support growth of bacteria or molds. However, it might harden over time if it absorbs moisture. Once opened, it remains good to use as long as it doesn't show signs of contamination, such as bugs or mold. It's safe to use well beyond the expiration date printed on the package. Freezing isn't a common storage practice for sugar because it doesn't have a biological breakdown over time like proteins or fats do.
How do you tell if sugar is bad?
While sugar itself doesn't turn bad, it can become contaminated with bugs or mold. So, be sure to check for any abnormal spots or shades, noticeable odors, or foreign objects in your sugar. Sugar also tends to harden or clump together when it absorbs moisture. Although clumped sugar isn't harmful, it can be a nuisance in cooking as it doesn't blend easily.
Tips for storing sugar to extend shelf life
• Keep your sugar in a cool, dry place to avoid moisture absorption. • Store it in an airtight container to prevent it from hardening. • If it does harden, you can place a damp paper towel or slice of bread in the container for a few hours to soften it. Remove the paper towel or bread once sugar softens to avoid molding. • Avoid using wet utensils when scooping out the sugar to prevent it from clumping together. • Occasionally check your sugar for any signs of contamination, such as bugs or mold.
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