What is Demerara Sugar?

One of the most frequent questions we hear is “What is Demerara sugar?”  This caramel-colored sweetener gets its name from the place where it was originally manufactured and shipped – the port of Demerara, in British Guyana. Demerara sugar crystals are slightly larger than white sugar crystals and are just a tad sticky to the touch. The flavor is a bit richer than white sugar, too.

You may know that sugar used to be very expensive and was actually considered a luxury. It was also quite coarse compared to the fine white sugar we are used to seeing today. While sugar is no longer a symbol of wealth, some sweeteners are going back to basics when it comes to grain size. And we think that’s pretty sweet.

Why Betsy’s Best Uses Natural Demerara Sugar

When it comes to sweetener for your coffee or cookies, there is no shortage of variety. Raw sugar, refined sugar, brown sugar, turbinado, muscovado, demerara – the list goes on and on! For Betsy’s Best Nut and Seed Butters, we chose to use a touch of demerara sugar in each variety, along with organic honey and/or organic stevia leaf extract. Like all our ingredients, we use it because of the high quality and excellent flavor. But what exactly is demerara sugar?

Demerara Sugar Is Less Processed

Demerara sugar’s larger crystal size comes thanks to the processing – or lack thereof. Unlike white sugar, which goes through several cycles of processing until it becomes super fine and snow white, demerara sugar undergoes just one cycle. The syrup of the sugarcane is dehydrated to form crystals. And that’s it!

Another difference between white sugar and demerara sugar is that demerara contains small amounts of the minerals chromium, cobalt, magnesium, manganese and zinc. These micronutrients are actually needed by the body to digest sugars – and sadly, they are removed from white sugar during the refining process.

We know that sugar has gotten a bad reputation, but not all sugar is created equal! Like many other foods, the quality depends on how it is harvested and processed.

Demerara Sugar Contains Less Sucrose

There are plenty of reasons why this “natural” sugar is popular in many European countries and is gaining ground in the U.S. One is that while white sugar contains up to 97-98% sucrose, natural demerara sugar contains only around 93% sucrose. Instead, it contains more molasses, a natural sweetener which contributes to the warm, caramel notes in its flavor. Considering that sucrose is already naturally occurring in many foods, it is a good idea to watch our intake of refined or processed versions.

Better Flavor and Texture

This coarse-textured, raw sweetener from the Demerara area of Guyana is like the Himalayan pink salt of sugars. What we mean is, a little goes a long way! That’s why it takes just a touch to make our nut and seed butters taste so good, without adding extra calories.

Betsy’s unique combination of all-natural sweeteners keeps the overall sugar per serving down to 2-4 grams while giving our products the perfect sweetness. Not to mention, the bigger crystals provide an extra bit of crunch.

If you’re already a fan of demerara sugar in your coffee, tea, hot mixed drinks or baked goods, you’ll love it in our gourmet nut and seed butters, too. If you’re new to it, we can’t wait for you to give it a try! We think you’ll love it just as much as we do.

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