By Sheila Keating
Sugar has come in for its fare share of demonising recently, and it's true most of us eat too much. But beyond the issue of the quantity of sugar we consume, is its quality. Most of the sugar used in the food industry is refined white sugar, which comes from sugar beet, whereas the kind preferred by chefs and aficionados is unrefined, which comes from sugar cane.
How is sugar refined?
In the case of beet, which is grown in the UK and Europe, the beet is sliced, cleaned and soaked to produce juice, which is filtered and boiled to form a syrup and crystallise. The crystals — always white, though they may be coloured brown later — are separated from the liquid, which is known as molasses. Beet molasses is too bitter for human consumption.