One of the most frequent questions we hear is “What is Demerara sugar?” Hey, we get it. It’s not the most common thing that people should automatically know. This caramel-colored sweetener actually 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. But what makes it special? Well, we plan to answer that.
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
Being a registered Dietitian, Betsy ensures that everything that goes into her products is natural, good for you, and tastes great. 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. It is crunchy, raw, and full of flavorful goodness and is one of the things that makes our butters extra special.
Demerara Sugar Is Less Processed
Demerara sugar’s larger crystal size is influenced by 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!
And we’ve all heard how bad processed foods are. That’s one of the reasons demerara sugar is extra sweet – and we mean more than just the flavor.
Another difference between white sugar and demerara sugar is that demerara contains small amounts of the minerals chromium, cobalt, magnesium, manganese and zinc. These micro-nutrients are actually needed by the body to digest sugars – and sadly, they are removed from white sugar during the refining process. Now, you’re not going to get much of these minerals but they are there – and any time you can get extra minerals in your sugar, well we think that’s a good thing.
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. And to be honest, most of that bad rap is due to the processing of white sugar. It has nothing to do with demerara sugar since it’s not the same. Comparing white sugar to demerara sugar would be like comparing a candy bar to an apple. So, maybe that’s a little dramatic but the point is that the processing means all the difference and demerara doesn’t have all the processing like white sugar. It’s more organic and better for you.
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 percent sucrose, natural demerara sugar contains only around 93 percent 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. Now a 3-4 percent different doesn’t seem like that much but the main takeaway is that demerara has a natural sweetness and honestly, who doesn’t like the flavor of molasses? You won’t find that in white sugar. In fact, the darker the demerara sugar, the more molasses and minerals it has.
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. And it has that crunch to it that also adds a little extra to our nut and seed butters.
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.Using her knowledge by being a registered Dietician, she does everything possible to create seed and nut butters that are delicious and good for you – as well as like nothing you’ve ever tasted.
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. The combination of Himalayan pink salt, demerara sugar, honey, and other natural ingredients means our seed and nut butters taste better than the rest – and they’re good for you!