The white refined sugar we are used to consists of almost pure sucrose crystals. To obtain it, the initial sugar-containing raw material goes through several stages: extraction, purification, evaporation and crystallization. At the same time, far from food substances are used in the technology.
After extraction, diffuse juice obtained by combining the plant mass with hot water is mixed with lime milk. In this way, the precipitation of heavy impurities is achieved.
Carbon dioxide is then passed through the heated solution to cause the lime to bind the non-sugar. After filtering the solution from foreign impurities, sulfur dioxide is passed through it. This is one of the stages of sugar whitening.
Then the sugar-containing mass is filtered through activated carbon and evaporated to remove excess water. Next comes the crystallization process, which takes place in huge vacuum containers. As a result, an intermediate product massecuite is formed — a mass consisting of sucrose crystals and an intercrystalline solution. The latter is removed during the centrifugation process.
As we can see, the technology for producing white sugar is quite complicated, and it is difficult to call the final product useful. Now let’s try to figure out what Demerara is.
Brown Sugar Demerara
Brown sugar or Demerara is much healthier than conventional refined sugar. Demerara is an intermediate link in the white refined sugar production chain and also goes through the process of lime treatment. This is unrefined cane sugar containing part of molasses — a dark brown syrupy liquid with a specific odor, which is a by-product of sugar production. Thanks to molasses, sugar acquires a golden brownish hue, for which it is colloquially called brown sugar. And yet, in terms of its flavoring qualities and mineralogical composition, Demerara is inferior to other sugar…
Panela is the evaporated sugar cane juice. And that’s it. The process of obtaining the panel is technologically simple. Its principles have not changed over the centuries.
Freshly harvested sugar cane is passed through a special press — trapiche. The extracted juice passes through coarse filtration from the reed particles and enters the metal vats. In them, at a temperature of 90 ° C, it is evaporated until a thick mass is formed. Then this mass is poured into wooden molds, in which it hardens, turning into blocks. Such a product is already ready for use and is popular in Latin America. Europeans are more accustomed to using this product in the form of granulated sugar.
The panel has many names, as it is called differently in different countries. Rapadura, chancaca, piloncillo — this is also a panel. There is another name — cane honey. The name of the panel was due to the similarity of the consistency of the evaporated sugar cane juice with bee honey, as well as due to the rich aroma.
The panel can be added to tea, coffee, cereals and any other products where we are used to using regular sugar. The panel has a unique grassy taste and aroma that enriches any product. Even just by adding a few spoonfuls of panela to a glass of hot water, you can get a great warming drink.
In the hot season, you can prepare a cooling pad by adding it to water with ice and lemon.
In addition to home use, the panel will find its application in the confectionery industry as a base for the preparation of syrups and fillings, as a substitute for refined sugar in baking, as well as for the production of handmade chocolate.
As we can see, panela is a healthier type of cane sugar. This is a great healthy alternative to our usual white refined sugar.