Sugar, You Have Aliases I’ve Yet to Uncover

Passing sugar factory in CA

I love to travel and frequently collect cookbooks from my destinations.  However, sometimes I get into trouble when a recipe calls for ingredients and I have no idea of the American equivalent.  Sugar is one ingredient that I’ve had this problem with frequently, so I decided to investigate the differences. I suspect part of the problem is that in America most sugar names are fairly self-explanatory: dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, and powdered sugar.  Not so with a lot of the sugars specified in recipes- take jaggery for example, what do I use that for, or rapadura – what the heck is that?  Well you get the idea.  I was befuddled, so I set about identifying as many sugars as I could.   I realize other types and forms of sugar exist such as liquid sugars, but chose to concentrate on the crystal form for this post.

Sugar comes from a variety of sources, the most common being sugar cane, but beet sugar and date sugar are a few alternatives.  Along with the variety of sources, there are many different types of granulated sugar.  Some are only used by the food industry and professional bakers and not available in the supermarket.  Granulated sugars differ in crystal size, so that each crystal size provides unique functional characteristics appropriate for a specific food’s special need.

White Sugar

White sugar is most commonly used in baking, and comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Each size offers different advantages and can alter the outcome of the recipe, so some consideration is required.

How did White Sugar become White?

To whiten cane sugar, it must be filtered; and the most common filters are made of bovine bone char.  Although none of the char becomes a part of the sugar, the two make contact during processing, which can preclude strict vegans from consuming the sugar.  Not all cane sugar is processed in this way, and since the method is not always identified on the package it is tricky to determine whether a brand of sugar was whitened with bone char.  Beet sugar, which is produced in the midwestern United States, is not filtered using animal products, and requires less whitening than cane sugar.

basic granular sugar

Castor/caster sugar [United Kingdom] – It can be found with either spelling: “caster” and “castor”, and is a United Kingdom sugar that is very finely granulated (finer than U.S. granulated sugar) which allows it to dissolve almost instantly.  It is named after the type of shaker in which it is frequently packaged.  It is ideal for delicately textured cakes and meringues, as well as for sweetening fruits and iced-drinks since it dissolves easily.  The US equivalent is superfine sugar, ultrafine, bar sugar or baker’s sugar.  In British Columbia it is called “berry sugar”.  The Baker’s sugar is more refined than fruit sugar and was developed especially for the baking industry for sugaring doughnuts and cookies.  When added to some commercial cakes it creates a fine crumb texture.

Confectioners or powdered sugar [United States] – In Britain it is called icing sugar and in France sucre glace. This sugar is granulated sugar ground to a smooth powder and then sifted. It contains about 3% cornstarch, wheat flour or calcium phosphate to prevent caking.  For this reason, it is not generally used to sweeten beverages.  Powdered sugar is ground into three different degrees of fineness. The confectioners sugar available in supermarkets – 10X – is the finest of the three and is used in icings, confections and whipping cream. The other two types of powdered sugar are used by industrial bakers, and are XXX, XXXX.  For the industrial grades, sugar without the additives is also available.  According to David Lebovitz, some bakeries use a non-melting powdered sugar which does not dissolve when shifted over baked goods, such as white topping sugar by the King Arthur Company.  Per David it offers a “slightly odd mouth feel.”

Hint: If you are in a pinch and need some powdered sugar,  you can make your own by blending granulated sugar in a food processor.

Coarse sugar also known as pearl or decorating sugar is larger than that of “regular” sugar.  Coarse sugar is recovered when molasses-rich, sugar syrups high in sucrose are allowed to crystallize. The large crystal size of coarse sugar makes it highly resistant to color change or inversion (natural breakdown to fructose and glucose) at cooking and baking temperatures. These characteristics are important in making fondants, confections and liquors.

sugar boxes

Fruit Sugar is slightly finer than “regular” or granulated sugar with more uniform crystals.  It is used in dry mixes such as gelatin and pudding desserts, and powdered drinks. Those more uniform small crystal size prevent separation or settling of larger crystals to the bottom of the box, an important quality in dry mixes.

Pearl Sugar looks very similar to the large pieces of salt you might find on a soft pretzel from a pretzel vendor. It is common in Scandinavian countries, found on many desserts and pastries. This type of sugar doesn’t really look like pearls, but its name may come for its color; pearly white, and it has more of an oval shape than round. It could be best described as “large” granulated sugar as in the manufacturing process, the sugar is pressed together to produce bigger grains ~ .07″ (2 mm). The distinct advantage to pearl sugar if you want to sugar on top of baked goods that withstands a higher heat before melting. Granulated sugar, in contrast, may melt, especially if the baking time on a dessert is long. In France, this type of sugar is called sucre en grains.

Granulated sugar has a few names including table sugar or white sugar. This is the sugar by far the most popular in the United States, and the form most commonly used in home food preparation.  If you come across blanc pure canne or sucre mi blanc in a French cookbook, this would be the closest substitute.  Note though, that the French versions are made from beet sugar as opposed to the cane sugar of their American counterparts.

Muku no seitoh or sucre fits d’etoiles is a sugar has been crystalized 3 times to produce a light, clear-cut sweetness. [Japan]

Oni zarame is a crystal sugar made over a longer time for coarse crystallization (zarame), which brings lighter sweetness and a nice aftertaste. [Japan]

Sanding sugar or coarse sugar is a large crystal sugar primarily used in the baking and confectionery industries as a sprinkle on top of baked goods. The large crystals reflect light and give the product a sparkling appearance.

Shunsetsu “yukidoke” tou or “spring snow sugar” is a blend of pure Okinawa brown sugar and Ohtori’s original sugar, with strong brown sugar aftertaste. [Japan]

Russian style sugar cubes

Sugar cubes are made from moist granulated sugar that is pressed into molds and then dried.  In France, sucre en morceaux would be a good substitute, although they come in various shapes.  Bakers will crush them on top of their baked goods to provide a crackly finish.  The French version are available in white or brown sugar.

Wasanbon toh sugar is manufactured using sugar cane called “Chikutoh”(also called “Hoso-kibi (thin sugar cane)”).  Machines are not used in the manufacturing process. It is produced in the Japanese Tokushima prefecture along the southern slope of the Asan mountains.  They first started growing sugar cane in this area more than two hundred years ago. Before the war it was produced in large quantities as an ordinary domestic sugar, but was gradually replaced by cheaper imported refined sugar from abroad.  Today, wasanbon toh is mainly used for making Japanese sweets, but has found its way into some Western style baking.  Wasanbon toh is prized as much for its taste as sweetness, there is a touch of molasses on the sugar despite its white appearance. Its special flavor and taste are quite rare in the world, the reasons why it has continued to be produced even in a climate that is not necessarily suited for producing sugar cane.  The closest description I could find is hand ground powdered sugar.

Brown Sugar

What’s the Difference between Brown and White Sugar?

Black Sugar - sweet goodness

The more molasses in the sugar the browner it is, so dark brown sugar has more molasses than light brown sugar which has molasses and white sugar has none.  Brown sugar retains some of the surface molasses syrup, which imparts a characteristic pleasurable flavor. Dark brown sugar has a deeper color and stronger molasses flavor than light brown sugar. Lighter types are generally used in baking and making butterscotch, condiments and glazes.  The rich, full flavor of dark brown sugar makes it good for gingerbread, mincemeat, baked beans, and other full flavored foods.  Also brown sugar tends to clump because that molasses leads to a higher moisture content in the sugar.  Brown sugar is made by either “painting” white graulated sugar with molasses, or boiling the two together.  Brown sugar is also most likely to come from sugar cane rather than beets.

Black Sugar is common in Asian countries.  It is unprocessed sugar and contains a lot of additional minerals which give it a healthy perspective.  This picture is of black sugar was purchased at a Japanese market.  The sugar is called Kuro Sato on the package.  Black sugar is made from the first boil of the sugar, so it has the highest concentration of molasses – it is like a very dark brown sugar.  A ginger and black sugar tea is popular in China as an energy drink, and on the package it encourages drinking said tea to address a woman’s “monthly issues”.  We nibbled on it like candy (in fact it was almost like rock candy) and it was delicious, like molasses, but with a more complex taste.  We also added it to hibiscus tea from Egypt to give it a truly international feel, and it worked very well. A good substitute would be sugar vergeoise brune, or piloncillo.

Chu-Zara Tou Sugar

Chu-Zara Tou Sugar is another form of Japanese brown sugar with ~ 1/8″ crystals – larger crystals but similar to Demerara sugar, except it is not dark brown, but lighter in color as it contains less molasses.

Raw sugar is the product at the point before the molasses is removed (what’s left after sugarcane has been processed and refined).

Cassonade is slightly refined and ranges from the large crystal version to the moist, softer varieties.  It can be either cuivrée (light or ambrée (dark).  Regular brown sugar can substitute for the moist version, and if available free-flowing brown sugar would be a good replacement for the large crystal variety.   Its closest equivalent is Demerara sugar.  Cassonade is derived from the word “casson”, which comes from the French verb casser, to break. In sixteenth-century French, casson was a crumbly type of sugar that was easy to break and reduced to powder. [France] [source: sugarontheweb.com]

Turbinado sugar, although a form of granulated cane sugar, is not processed with bone char.  Rather, it is “washed” with steam, and is therefore vegan acceptable.   Turbinado sugar is not decolourised, and retains the look and taste of raw sugar with its light molasses flavor and tan color.  In a recipe either white or brown sugar can be substituted with a 1:1 ratio.  If it replaces white sugar in the recipe, the final product will have a golden tinge with a faint hint of molasses, and be a bit moister.  If it is used to replace brown sugar, the final product will be lighter in color and a milder molasses flavor.

Demerara sugar is a light brown sugar with large golden crystals, which are slightly sticky from the adhering molasses.  It is commonly used in tea, coffee, or added to hot cereals.  [United Kingdom]

Muscovado or Barbados sugar is very dark brown and has a particularly strong molasses flavor. The crystals are slightly coarser and stickier in texture than “regular” brown sugar. [United Kingdom]

Namasatoh is a Japanese raw sugar from sugarcane grown in the Saltsunan Islands of Kyushu. The unique liquid extraction removal process leaves molasses in the sugar.

Satsunan niontoh is a raw processed sugarcane from the Satsunan islands of Japan. “Ni-on” means “cooked twice” in the refining process. This minimally refined sugar contains more minerals than sugars that are processed for longer.

sucre de canne complet is most similar to the most version of cassonade and can be substituted for American brown sugar.  Options in varieties include free flowing or slightly sticky.  [France]

photo from gourmetsleuth.com

Sucanat (a contraction of “Sugar Cane Natural”) is a type of raw cane sugar.  It retains its molasses content, and is essentially pure dried sugar cane juice. The juice is extracted by mechanical processes, heated and cooled at which point the small brown grainy crystals are formed.  Sucanat is a good substitute for brown sugar, however, unlike regular brown sugar, sucanat is grainy instead of crystalline.  Of all major sugars derived from sugar cane, Sucanat ranks the highest in nutritional value, containing a smaller proportion of sucrose than white cane sugar. However, Sucanat  is not a significant source of any nutrient apart from simple carbohydrates.  Sometimes confused with turbinado sugar, the two sugars do have some fundamental differences.  Turbinado sugar contains only a trace amount of its original molasses content, aligning it closer to refined sugar except but with a golden color and a hint of molasses flavor.  Sucanat, on the other hand, retains its full molasses content and flavor.  Its grainy form also differentiates it from the clear, crystalline form of turbinado.

Free-flowing brown sugars are specialty products produced by a co-crystallization process. The process yields fine, powder-like brown sugar that is less moist than “regular” brown sugar.  Because it is less moist, it does not clump and is free-flowing like white sugar, it can substitute for regular sugar but will give a hint of molasses taste.

Rapadura is the pure juice extracted from the sugar cane (using a press), which is then evaporated to dry it into granules [Brazil]. It has a grainy texture as it has not been heated or spun to convert it to crystal form. Because Rapadura is not heated, the vitamins and minerals are retained, along with the natural balance of sucrose, glucose, and fructose. It is also known as panela or jaggery is the Indian equivalent (which traditionally was made from sugar cane or date palms, but now is also made from the sap of coconut or sago palms).  Columbia is the largest producer of panela, nor is it a coincidence that they are also the largest consumers.  Other Spanish names include: chancaca, papelón, piloncillo, panocha, rapadura, atado dulce or empanizao.

Palm Sugar was originally made from the sugary sap of the date palm, but can now also be made from the sap of the sago and coconut palms and may also be found by the name “coconut sugar”.  The taste is similar to brown sugar but with bonus caramel and butterscotch notes with no metallic ending like brown sugar can have.  [source: wikipedia].  This sugar is mostly found in Southeast Asian countries.  In Thai markets, this sugar may be found as a mix with white cane sugar and malt sugar.  In Indonesia, sugar made from the Borassus (Palmyra palm) is known as Gula Jawa (“Javanese sugar”) or gula merah (red sugar).  In Thailand, palm and “coconut sugar” (nahm dtahn bik and nahm dtahn maprao) are used interchangeably, but they are not the same.  Also remember that “coconut sugar” is not derived from the coconut fruit itself.  This sugar is attractive because it has an extremely low glycemic index.  Other names include [source Wikipedia]:

  • Burma: jaggery, tanyet
  • Cambodia: skor tnot
  • Kerala: karippatti, karipp otti
  • Bangladesh: jaggery (cane or palm sugar), gur (date palm sugar);
  • Tamilnadu: panam karkandu, karuppatti
  • Indonesia: gula jawa, gula aren, gula merah
  • Philippines: pakaskas
  • Malaysia: gula melaka, gula anau
  • Sri Lanka: jaggery, kitul-hakuru, tal-hakuru, pol pani
  • Laos: num taan
  • Thailand: น้ำตาลปีป (nam taan pep), น้ำตาลปึก (nam taan bik), น้ำตาลมะพร้าว (nam taan mapraow)
  • Vietnam: đường thốt nốt

cones of sweetness

Piloncillo is a type of brown sugar found in Mexico that was shaped into cones that are about an 1″ in diameter at their widest point. Dark brown sugar can be substituted in a pinch. I usually add a bit of molasses too, as the density and moisture content is high.  The black Japanese sugar might be a good substitute, but its moisture content is less than the piloncillo.

Sugar vergeoise is a French brown sugar made from beets as opposed to sugar cane and like the brown sugar family with American’s it can be found in light or dark versions. In this case blonde (light) or brune (dark). It is an easy substitute for the brown sugar found in American grocery stores. Its flavor and color depend on how many times its been boiled – the more times the darker the sugar and more intense the flavor. Vergeoise gets its name from an old form of sugar, dating back to when women who poured sugar into bug sugar loaf molds were known as “vergeoises”. This type of sugar is most common in Northern France and Belgium.

Tiizukui konakuruzaataa is a handmade brown powder sugar made from sugarcane juice which is cooked, extracted, and cooled. It contains molasses, which are rich in minerals, vitamin’s and flavor. [Japan]

I am confident that I missed many varieties, so if you know of one that is not listed, please let me know and I’ll add it to my list.  For me, this post represents one of the joys of traveling, discovering new ingredients and how they can be the same or very different at the same time.


Finally, this post is actually meant to compliment another post by Elizabeth Stelling AKA Chef E – an extremely talented chef, author, poet, instructor who lives in Princeton, NJ.  Her sugar post focuses on the nutrition aspects and can be found here.  If you are not familiar with her writing, I urge you to check her blog out – CooksAppeal.Blogspot

Note:  Lori at FakeFreeFood, provided further information on sugar’s nutritional side.  Definitely worth a look.  We both agreed a lot of contradictory and misleading information is out there.  As a nutritionist, she makes some great points.

Update me when site is updated

32 comments for “Sugar, You Have Aliases I’ve Yet to Uncover

  1. January 11, 2010 at 8:04 AM

    Bravo Oyster! This was great, and helps bring light on all the alternatives on the market…this is something that has been on my mind, since I learned that raw sugar has not health benefits over granulated sugar; it is just in another form. How we are all fooled commercially!

  2. January 11, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    Great info – its amazing how many place sugar lurks – natural or imposed. I need to try some of that black sugar.

  3. January 11, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    Wow! I love this post…. I use sugar every morning in my coffee. Thank you for writing about panela. I love people to learn about this wonderful product from my country. Greta job as usual 🙂

  4. January 11, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    Great info as always! I enjoy trying different types of sugar in cookies and as toppings on sweet baked goods. I’d like to experiment with piloncillo next, and black Japanese sugar sounds interesting.

  5. January 11, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    This is my kind of post, the sweet ones! A class about sugar and all the different options and names..wow!! Some of them are new for me.

    Have a sugary week!

    Gera

  6. January 11, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    All those variations on sugar alone can open up a new world to sweeteners. Black sugar sounds really interesting.

  7. January 11, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    I’ve always thought sugar was sugar and it came only in 4 varieties. White, brown, powdered and raw. Goes to show how much I know. lol.

  8. admin
    January 11, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    Chef E – I had so much fun doing this joint post with you – thanks for asking. Can’t wait until the next one!

    Gastro – Thanks, black sugar is a must try. Let me know if you cannot find any and I’ll pick some up before our next meet up.

    Erica – Thanks!

    Lisa – Both the piloncillo and the black sugar are fun to play with. I look forward to seeing you work your magic with them.

    Gera – and a sugary week to you too!

    Duo – Absolutely, lots of fun to explore.

    Jenn – Sigh, if only life were that simple! Have the fun is learning – I had no idea there were so many until I started really seeking them out.

  9. January 11, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    Great post! I have recently been exploring all different sugars – was excited to find muscovado in Wegmans today and my recipe tomorrow will be with Piloncillo.

  10. January 11, 2010 at 10:03 PM

    I am book-marking this page. Thanks for a wealth of information on something we all use so commonly every day without a second thought. All those Asian sugars are especially fascinating. You have given us all an A+ education in the sweet stuff.

  11. January 12, 2010 at 1:29 AM

    What a grand post this is!! I printed it because I allready know a bit about the sugars I use in my cooking & baking but about the other sugars I didn’t know anything!!

    Thanks so much! Very intersting, my dear!

  12. January 12, 2010 at 7:52 AM

    And I thought I knew my sugars (not). As soon as you got to the Asian ones, I was thinking, “look at that. How wonderfully different and interesting.” I had no idea about the processing of white sugar and the impact on vegans. I certainly will take better care when I bake for them! Many thanks.

  13. January 12, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    I never knew there were so many sweet options. GREG

  14. January 12, 2010 at 10:13 AM

    I’ve been experimenting with different types of sugars for awhile in my baking so I love that you posted all this great info. I regularly use palm sugar, demerara and muscuvado but I was not familiar with black sugar and all the sugars from the southeast asian countries. Thanks for this wonderful stuff! Happy New Year too!!

  15. January 12, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    What an excellent post! I see myself referring to this often as a resource. Black sugar – how interesting!

  16. admin
    January 12, 2010 at 11:04 AM

    Natasha – Glad you found it useful, I just had to put it down on paper, so to speak, I had notes all over the place and I was making myself crazy.

    Carolyn – Great, glad you found it useful.

    Sophie – my pleasure!

    Claudia – I agree there is a lot to learn about something we take for granted. I had no idea on the vegan aspect, and suspected I was not the only one.

    Sippity – the mind does boggle!

    Lisa – My pleasure and Happy New Year to you too!

    Reeni – thanks, glad you found the post helpful.

  17. January 12, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    Wow….you’ve done it again, now when i need to know what is what…about breakfasts and sugars, I know where to come. Link to perfect macarons attached!!!!!!!

  18. January 12, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    Great post! I thought I had worked with most of the sugars out there. Turns out, ugh, not even half.

    I’m currently having fun with pearl sugar – the one that looks like pretzel salt. It makes everything I make look cuter than they actually are. 🙂

  19. January 12, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    This is fascinating. Sugar is produced in my country but I was unaware of all the different varieties. Fantastic post!

  20. January 12, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    I actually knew most of these sugars! YAY! I’m so proud of myself, lol.
    I remember looking up a British cookbook and wondering what the heck castor sugar is!

  21. admin
    January 12, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    Kitchen Butterfly – I am in awe of your post, must be brace (gulp) and try for myself.

    Leela – I had no idea myself, I had been collecting bits of paper here and there and thought to consolidate. Figured I could not be the only frustrated individual out there. Ah, the pearl sugar, that’s a favorite.

    Wizzthestick – it was fascinating to put it all together -glad you liked it, I definitely learned a bit in the process.

    Sophia – Good for you, that’s about where I started with the darn castor sugar.

  22. January 13, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    This is impressive! Even those Japanese ones, I wouldn’t be able to name them all if I was asked. I wonder if there is a store that specializes just in sugars that sells all kinds of sugars from all over the world. That would be interesting.

  23. January 14, 2010 at 1:42 AM

    Way, finally managed to access your site. My pc just would not download the page! What a fascinating post! Never thought in a million years there would be so many different kinds of sugar. For me there was Caster sugar, granulated sugar, Icing sugar and Brown sugar! Amazing. Feel so much more educated now!!

  24. January 14, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    Loved reading this and comparing all that I’ve come across in my travels, but now I have a lot of questions.

    Muscavo (muscovado) is what I used in Brazil and I’ve started buying demerara while back in the US. You’ve got both listed under the raw sugars that have been refined. However, I’d read that the process for both was the dried sugarcane juice and that they were unrefined. Similar to the explanations you have for rapadura and sucanat.

    Any thoughts? I’d definitely like to know because maybe I’ve gotten false info and need to switch my sugars!

    In other thoughts, I love palm sugar. We got to cook with it in a cooking class in Thailand. It has such a unique flavor.

  25. admin
    January 14, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    Kichen M – Glad you liked it.

    Ruth – Sorry about the troubles. I know there are a lot of sugars out there, and I have strong suspicions there are may more. Looking forward to continually exploring.

    Lori – Thanks, regarding your question, hmm… I got that info from the sugar associations web site. I may not be not clear, in which case I’ll clarify. I suspect the question is from the definition of “refined”, which from my research varies widely depending on who’s talking. Thanks for raising this question.

  26. admin
    January 15, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    Hi Lori, follow up, raw sugar is indeed refined, just not to the point of granular sugar or brown sugars.
    Sugar made from sugar cane starts with the sugar cane cut and run through a press. Once extracted it is boiled and cooled – this process is considered a refinement process, which is where I think you and I diverged. At that point it is raw sugar, further processing leads to other types. Musvavo is heated in that initial refinement process when the sugar cane juice is boiled compared to rapadura which goes through an evaporation process. I agree with you that the sucanant definition is confusing when it claims, its unrefined, it is indeed better placed under raw sugar. I got that bit of info from the gourmet sleuth website, and did not make the connection until you pointed it out. I’ll revise the post to make it less confusing. Thanks so much for raising these great points.

  27. January 15, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    Thanks for following up. I had read that raw sugar was refined and no different than white, but I was unaware that demerara and muscavado (muscavo) fell into that category. I guess maybe I was looking at the evaporation process as not being actual processing, but with the heating…. And although it’s different than white sugar, perhaps still not the best I could do. Hmm…need to start rethinking my sugars. It looks like rapadura may be the best choice given your research. Thanks again! Really glad you did this post.

  28. February 1, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    Talk about thorough, this post is absolutely fascinating! It’s my first time here and I must say, what kept me so long???

    The amount of effort you put into presenting each and every detail is quite laborious. WOW!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing…Bookmarked!!!

  29. February 5, 2010 at 9:28 PM

    Hello –
    Palm sugar is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart and something I’ve done alot of on-site research on. The Wiki is full of inaccuracies or ‘not-quite-rights’. Briefly:
    -I’m not convinced that palm sugar was ‘originally’ made from the date palm. It’s quite possible that when pple were making sugar from date palms in one part of the world (Africa, I believe) SE Asians were already making sugars from other palms native to their region. SE Asians have been ‘tapping’ palms and making alcoholic drinks from the liquid for ages.
    -palm sugars are made not from the sap of the trees themselves, but from a liquid that drips from their immature (or, in the case of nipa palms, mature) flower stalks
    -the types of palms usually used for sugar in SE Asia are: coconut, aren, nipa, and palmyra (aka fan or sugar palm). The latter isn’t used much south of Thailand.
    -the flavors of various palm sugars are a result of: variety of palm (nipa palms grow in brackish water, for instance, and therefore nipa palm sugar tends to be a little salty), terroir, and processing methods
    -in Indonesia, ‘gula merah’ (‘red’ sugar) and ‘gula jawa’ (‘Java’ sugar) are generic terms for palm sugar. Palm variety-specific names are: gula aren from the aren palm; gula kepapa from the coconut palm; gula nipa from the nipa palm. White/cane sugar is mixed in for cheaper ‘gula campur’ (‘mixed’ sugar)
    -in Malaysia gula Melaka is always made from the coconut palm; gula anau is made from the aren palm
    -Philippine pakaskas is not palm sugar, even though many Filipinos call it ‘palm sugar’. It’s brown cane sugar. Very little palm sugar is produced in the Philippines.
    Great blog! I’m glad I’m here via Seattle Tall Poppy.
    Cheers,
    Robyn

  30. admin
    February 6, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    Lori – After your comments and those of others, I feel like I did a disservice to the topic. I think another post with far more research is in order. I feel a bit like picking up a rock in the forest and finding the underside teaming with life, there’s so much more there. My sources on the web have been light in detail at best, so obviously more research is required. Thanks so much for starting the dialog, this is what I love about blogging, is this exchange of ideas.

    Louise – I am so happy you stopped by and like what you found.

    Robyn – Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to clarify a lot of what I’ve found, I appreciate your generosity. I’m glad Seattle Tall Poppy made the connection.

  31. February 23, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Can’t believe I’m so late to this post, but glad I found it nonetheless! Really informative and useful, I’m bookmarking it for future recipes.

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