What’s Barbados Sugar?

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Barbados sugar, also known as muscovado or raw sugar, is minimally processed and retains some vitamins and minerals. It has a darker, molasses-tinged flavor and can be substituted with dark brown sugar. It is high in minerals and has fewer calories than white sugar.

Barbados sugar, more commonly called muscovado sugar or simply raw sugar, is a type of minimally processed sugar that is dark brown in color. Like typical brown sugar, it is much moister than granulated white sugar. It contains more molasses, which makes the sugar stickier. People with health issues may prefer this type of sugar because its minimal preparation technique means it retains some of the vitamins and minerals found in sugar cane.

By itself, Barbadian sugar is famous for its darker, more molasses-tinged flavor. It is popular in Britain and today can mostly be made in the Philippines. Barbados and muscovado sugar are essentially the same product. As a strict definition, this type of sugar should only be produced in Barbados, where muscovado sugar can be produced anywhere sugar cane is grown or processed.

To make this sugar from sugar cane, the cane is ground and pressed to release its juice. The juice is normally heated slightly and may contain lime, coconut milk and/or other acids added to reduce foaming during the heating process. It is then sun-dried in cups to evaporate most of the water, and when completely dry, it is hammered to break up the sugar crystals.

Because the process of making Barbadian sugar is simple, it is sometimes called poor man’s sugar. In a number of places, however, it is considered highly desirable. It may be difficult to find outside areas where sugar cane is grown and processed in this way or outside the UK. Consumers can order it online from a number of Internet shops, and it may be available at specialty or import stores.

Cooks who have a recipe that calls for this sugar, but have trouble getting it, can usually substitute the brown sugar in equal amounts. To get close to the same flavor, it’s important that the cook try to use the darkest, coarsest brown sugar he can find. Essentially, the higher the molasses content, the more closely the final product will taste as intended. Cooks can also add a few dollops of molasses to help produce the rich unfinished taste.

There are some benefits to using Barbadian sugar. During the refining process, white sugar is stripped of virtually all of its minerals. Sugarcane can be high in potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron, all of which are removed. Less refined sugar tends to hold these minerals in small amounts and has fewer calories. One teaspoon (4 grams) contains about 11 calories, while the same amount of white sugar has 16 calories.

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