Demerara sugar, being native to South America’s Guyana, is the majority of sugar available today, that comes from Mauritius in Africa. It is commonly used to decorate cakes and muffins and flavor tea and coffee.
The sugar was named after the British colony of Demerara, which is now part of the Republic of Guyana.
What is exactly Demerara sugar?
It is also known as brown sugar, is an exotic version of white sugar with a golden toffee color. It is essentially a less refined sugar produced during the first pressing of sugarcane. This contains several minerals, but they are insufficient to contribute to your daily recommended levels.
This sugar was originally extracted from sugarcanes grown in the volcanic region’s soil. Today, the majority of demerara sugar comes from Mauritius, Malawi, and Jamaica.
Where can you find it?
While it is easy to find in some places and grocery stores, it may be difficult to find in others. It is widely available in supermarkets and online from Tesco, Walmart, Aldi, Lidl, and Amazon.
How does it look like?
It is a type of raw cane sugar that has a large grain, a crunchy texture, and a pale brown color.
It has a lovely caramel color and contains less refined sugar and has a sticky feel to them. The flavor is also distinct and complex, elevating the flavors of any recipe.
How is it manufactured?
Originally, this sugar was extracted from sugarcanes grown in the volcanic region’s soil. Like any other sugar, it is produced from pulped sugar cane, but unlike some other sugars, it is processed minimally. This means it retains more of the brown, smoky cane juice, or molasses, that is extracted from paler, more processed sugars.
To extract sugarcane juice, the sugarcane is first pressed. It is then boiled until it thickens into a syrup. After the water has evaporated, the material cools and hardens. Sugarcane syrup is dehydrated to produce crystals.
Nutritional aspects of Demerara
It contains slightly less sucrose (88-93%) than white sugar (96-98 percent). It contains minerals such as potassium, iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, chromium, cobalt, and vitamins B3, B5, and B6.
With this in mind, you should avoid eating large amounts of demerara sugar because any benefits from vitamins and minerals would be outweighed by the negative effects of excess sugar.
Health benefits of Demerara sugar
Because it is a carbohydrate in the form of sugar, it provides an immediate burst of energy. However, there are additional health benefits to this sugar, such as:
1. Has a Lower Sucrose Content
White sugar contains up to 97-98% sucrose, whereas it only contains around 88-93% sucrose. Instead, it includes more molasses, a natural sweetener that adds to the flavor’s warm, caramel overtones. Thus, it contains fewer calories, making it a healthier alternative to regular sugar.
2. Aids in the Maintenance of Metabolism
Any sugar in excess is harmful to the body and metabolism. When used in place of regular sugar, It, unlike other types of sugars, can help maintain metabolism.
While it alone cannot activate the body’s metabolism, it does provide a boost to the body’s metabolism.
3. Minerals and vitamins
It contains some vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, vitamins B3, B5, B6, and magnesium, due to its natural molasses content.
What Is the Distinction Between White Sugar and Demerara Sugar?
There is always a debate about which type of sugar is better when it comes to the sweetener of choice. When white sugar is compared to demerara sugar, it can be difficult to determine why demerara sugar is superior to white sugar. So, here’s a comparison of white sugar and demerara sugar.
- Though calories are the same as in white sugar, demerara sugar includes trace quantities of the minerals chromium, cobalt, magnesium, manganese, and zinc whereas white sugar does not.
- They are both entirely composed of carbohydrates in the form of sugars. It is estimated that each gram of carbohydrates contains just under 4 calories.
- Both demerara and white sugar contain 15 calories per teaspoon (4 grams). As a result, substituting demerara for white sugar will not help you lose weight.
- Demerara sugar and regular sugar both have a similar effect on blood sugar levels.
Uses of demerara sugar
- It can be used in a variety of dishes, sauces, and drinks, both sweet and savory. Many bakers and chefs prefer it to other types of sugar when making cookies, shortbread, and cocktails, to sweeten coffee and tea.
- Because it has a toffee-like flavor, it can be used to make toffees and candies.
- It can be used in place of granulated or light brown sugar in a variety of sweet and savory dishes due to its color, depth of flavor, and texture.
- This sugar is used to enhance the flavor of cereals.
- When this sugar is added to baked dishes with dried fruit or ginger, they taste fantastic.
- You can also use it to add texture and flavor to hot or cold cereal, fruit, or desserts.
- Slather it on top of muffins, scones, cookies, and cakes for an irresistible toffee flavor. That musky caramel-toffee flavor also goes well with hot drinks, so try whisking some into your coffee or sprinkling some on top of your hot chocolate’s whipped cream.
- It pairs especially well with brown liquors like bourbon, aged whiskey, and dark molasses-based rum.
Demerara sugar substitutes
There may be sometimes when you can run out of sugar but worry not, I am here to guide your various substitutes of demerara sugar.
Turbinado, which is less processed than brown sugar, is produced from the initial pressing of sugar cane and contains some natural molasses and a delicate caramel flavor. It has a mild caramel taste and may be used instead of ordinary white sugar.
Muscovado is another cane sugar, which is unprocessed, with a wet texture and a pronounced molasses taste. It is available in a variety of intensities, as shown in the picture above and discussed more here. It has a sticky, sandy texture. Its robust flavor complements savory marinades and sauces.
Light brown sugar
Light brown sugar is granulated sugar with a trace of molasses mixed in. It has a light caramel flavor and may be used in both sweet and savory recipes.
When most people hear the term “sugar,” they immediately think of granulated sugar. It is an all-purpose refined white sugar made from sugar cane and sugar beets, and it is the most frequently used sugar in baking and cooking.
This genuinely unrefined sugar is made from crystallized pure cane sugar and maintains a greater percentage of molasses than other kinds of cane sugars. It has a strong, burned flavor that may be off-putting in lighter baking recipes but is excellent in spice cakes and ginger cookies.
This distinctively Mexican sugar, similar to jaggery, is a hidden ingredient in many salsas, soups, and mole sauces. It has a rich molasses taste that is almost Smokey.
It is a fine-grained form of caster sugar. Its tiny crystals dissolve more readily, making it excellent for syrups and drinks.
It is often known as powdered sugar, which is a fine, powdered white sugar that is used to create icing or to decorate baked products.
Dark brown sugar
Dark brown sugar is granulated sugar with more molasses put back in. It may be substituted with light brown sugar to provide a richer, more nuanced flavor.
After looking at all the aspects, we can conclude that it is a healthier alternative to white sugar. Despite its health benefits, it should be consumed in moderation because it still has many of the same characteristics as regular sugar and must be used sparingly.