In case you forgot. I am not a dietician.
This past year I’ve explored more in the cooking world and I want to discuss some basics with you that I’ve learned in this time. One is the MANY different types of sugar, what you can substitute with what, and why some sugar is not vegan.
First lets explain why the majority of cane sugar is not vegan. Sugar is processed through what is called “natural” charcoal. This is actually burned and ground animal bone. The filtering pulls out impurities and gives that standard white color to the sugar. Now if we lived in a world where humans opted to use every part of the animal. Slaughtered themselves, and cooked with every bone, tissue, and morsel. Then I would be accepting of this. Unfortunately in our agriculture in the US we do not and as the rest of the world speeds up to us in meat consumption. I opt to stay vegan with my sugar, and your choice in this is a personal one and completely up to you.
If you do want a vegan sugar, check the label most likely it will say organic and then how it was processed on the back.
Cane Sugar & Table Sugar
I see a cat hair lol.
This sugar is derived from the sugar cane only. It can be swapped with table sugar. The only difference is table sugar gets it’s sucrose from both the sugar can and sugar beets. This is used for flavoring food and beverages and baking in the US.
Caster sugar is also known as superfine sugar. This sugar has a much smaller granule compared to cane and table sugar, which makes it ideal for baking. It dissolves much more quickly than it’s counter parts as well. If you have a recipe that calls for caster or superfine sugar you can replace it with cane or table sugar but it’s tricky as you may want to spend more time allowing the cane/table sugar to dissolve.
Now there is debate as to if powdered sugar is the same as icing sugar. Technically they are different, but in the US it’s much easier to find powdered sugar. Both are used to make frostings, icings, and dips. This sugar has a fine flour like consistency and can’t be substituted with cane or caster sugar. It not only dissolves quickly but absorbs the liquids creating a light, smooth, and fluffy texture.
Brown sugar and light brown sugar is a sugar that is combined with molasses to give it a distinct dark color and deep sweet flavor. Molasses is a syrup made from cane and sugar beets as well. This is commonly used in baking and cooking dishes.
Coconut sugar has a granule texture of table sugar and can replace it in recipes and flavoring. Coconut sugar does not have a distinct coconut flavor but adds Inulin which acts as a prebiotic in the body, as well as minerals such as iron and zinc. Coconut sugar has also shown to be slower absorbing on the glycemic index.
Sugar in the Raw
I couldn’t find mine so I took this photo from Amazon.com
Sugar in the raw is different from cane/table sugar as it goes through a natural filtration process. Leaving the granules slightly larger and some of it’s natural molasses still there. Unless the recipe is customized for this sugar it could be challenging to bake with as it takes much longer to dissolve. This is commonly used as a sweetener alternative for hot beverages.
Stevia is a naturally derived sugar that is about 300x sweeter than table sugar. Because of this much less is needed for flavoring. Stevia is usually used when someone is calorie conscious or has a health condition requiring a lower sugar intake. As it comes in both a granulated and liquid form, you can bake with stevia but check to see how much would be needed to replace it. There are a lot of online sources dedicated to it!
Now there are MANY more sugars, syrups, and the like. But this is what I found in my pantry so far. As I continue to explore culinary options I may add a part 2 with some more ingredients I’ve found and also some homemade syrup recipes:).
Let me know if there are any sweeteners you’re in love with!