About two years ago I started buying organic pure cane sugar, replacing the refined and pesticide-aided white sugar I had always used.
A lengthy refining process turns the extracted juice of sugarcane into white sugar. Impurities and nutrients are removed, and sulfur dioxide is commonly used to wash off molasses, which gives less-refined pure cane sugar its brownish color.
Understand that commercial brown sugar is refined white sugar that has had molasses added back to it. Dark brown sugar has more molasses added back than light brown sugar. This (unnecessary?) deconstruction/reconstruction is similar to what is done to enriched bleached white flour. Wouldn’t it be better just to leave the original product in its natural, healthier form?
The brand I buy is Florida Crystals, which, according to the company, is “the only organic sugar grown and harvested in the U.S.A.” Whole Foods also sells organic cane sugar through its 365 private label, but the sugarcane is from Paraguay.
Interestingly, two packages of Florida Crystals organic sugar I recently bought from the same store (within a week) contained sugar of completely different shades of brown (photo, above right).
I called the company and was reassured that the varying colors are normal and natural, and that flavor should be consistent.
This reminded me of the difference between the eggs I buy at farmers’ markets and the whitewashed commercial eggs that were just recalled by the . . . hundreds of millions.