Friday, October 23, 2009

Pour Some Sugar On Me ... But Make Sure It's Raw

Several months ago, I blogged about using raw cane sugar as opposed to the standard "white" sugar and was asked why.

At the time, I said that I switched because cane sugar is closer to "natural" than the white sugar (which is more often cooked down from sugar beets - a genetically modified food). But there are other differences, as well. It tastes different ... it's hard to explain, really, but cane sugar tastes fuller than white sugar. It's like having an in-season, locally grown tomato that was fully ripened in the sun versus eating a tomato that was grown on the other side of the continent, picked green, and shipped by refrigerator truck over 3000 miles. They're not the same, but the differences are incredibly subtle, and unless you've had one, regularly, you might not notice (or care) that the former is far superior to the latter.

A few years ago, after we'd been using raw sugar for a while, I bought some white sugar, and I was using it to sweeten something I was baking. Little Fire Faery asked me what it was, when I poured it into the bowl, and I said, "Sugar."

She asked, "Why's it white?"

Cane sugar is brown, and it's brown because the molasses has not be processed out of it. In fact, when we first open the bag of Florida Crystals sugar, we can smell the molasses. It's pretty cool.

I've been feeling a little out of sorts lately, and while it's normal for me to feel a bit down at certain times of the month, usually, I'm fine the rest of the time. I couldn't figure it out why I was feeling this way.

I had an epiphany this morning.

Because of my crazy challenge, we haven't been buying the sugar we usually buy, because it's not available at my local health food store. We had some regular white sugar in the cabinet, and that's what I've been using to sweeten my tea.

I've always been borderline iron deficient, and I feel lousy at certain times of the month because my iron levels are low.

What I didn't realize is that my use of raw sugar was actually helping to keep the gloomies at bay. Molasses is an excellent source of iron, and I even found sources that recommend molasses to vegetarians to replace the iron they would ordinarily get from eating meat.

As luck would have it, I have molasses in the cabinet, and yes, it went right into my tea.

It's delicious ... and I feel better already ;).


  1. I had to buy white sugar recently. I've been using cane sugar by preference for a few years. But one of my cooking class recipes required us to caramelize the sugar, and I found I just couldn't tell what was going on well enough with the darker cane sugar. The white stuff made it perfectly clear. I did mention to my students that cane sugar will keep you clear of GMOs, for the time being at least. (I try not to bludgeon them with food sanctimony.) Now I'm not sure what I'll do with the rest of this white stuff.

  2. Wait, aren't you supposed to refrigerate molasses? Man, I hope so...I'd better have those dribbles in my fridge for a decent reason! Ha ha!
    I prefer my molasses in cookies..mmmmm!

  3. my BIL loves molasses in his coffee instead of sugar. I always thought that was odd, but hey, whatever makes him happy!

  4. I think I am iron deficient too. We do use raw sugar, but we don't use much sugar in general. Maybe I need to find a way to get more molasses in me.

  5. i think raw sugar tasts better too. we really like rapudura best of all. your local health food store likely has it. i believe it to be a great source of iron too.