Sugar

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Cooking and processing

Inverted sugar

When you add a little acid (such as lemon juice or cream of tartar) to sucrose, it breaks down into its constituents, glucose and fructose.

Inverted sugar is sweeter because fructose is itself sweeter than glucose and the original sucrose, and a little smoother because in a mix, sucrose doesn't crystallization as easily.


This happens naturally in jams, jellies, and in cuisines/dishes that use both sugar and sour things.


While cooking, the fact that you're likely boiling off water means it is also associated with being more syrupy.

That, and the fact that inverted sugar is often sold as a syrup.


See also:

Caramel

Molasses

By-product of refining sugarcane or sugarbeet into sucrose.


While still containing sugar, and mostly edible, the taste is far from sugar's taste, so historically it was thrown away.

It found other uses, including distillation in rum, citric acid production, yeast production. and adding taste to e.g. brown sugar, rye, soy sauce, some beers, etc.


(TODO: difference between sugarbeet molasses and sugarcane molasses?)


Brown sugar

A combination of two or more from:

  • sucrose
  • inverted sugar (see below)
  • molasses
  • caramel

The combination, proportions, and product names vary regionally.


Types of sugar

tl;dr:

  • sucrose is the combination of glucose+fructose, found in sugarbeet and sugarcane
table sugar is typically sucrose
'inverting' sugar separates the two
  • fructose is also common, e.g. in fruit
  • glucose is the most central (and our body's most central, and easiest, fuel)
  • Starch and cellulose are rather longer.


Monosaccharides

Disaccharides

Longer saccharides