Many people are now using natural sweeteners like blackstrap molasses, and date sugar in plant-based recipes. However, date sugar is a pricey option and as it is made from ground-up whole dates, it will not dissolve completely. Therefore, it is not suitable for beverages, as it can add a gritty texture. On the other hand, blackstrap molasses is a byproduct of cane sugar milling and can have a high content of trace minerals. Besides, it can have a strong flavor profile, which can limit its use to complementary items.
So what can a plant-based eater do when they cannot use blackstrap molasses or date sugar? They can go for plant-based consumer goods like evaporated cane juice and coconut sugar. Let us look in detail at these sugars. Although before that, let us understand more about refined sugar.
Commercially available cane sugar or white sugar is processed and refined. The refining process can differ based on whether the sugar is obtained from beets or sugar canes. In the case of sugar cane, it is chemically decolored and clarified to make cane sugar. Bone char or the charred remains of animal bones are used to whiten cane sugar and this makes many vegans avoid cane sugar. If you also wish to avoid this extra processing, you can use the sugar options discussed below.
Coconut sugar is procured from the sap of the flower bud stem of the coconut tree. This natural sugar has gained popularity recently. It is granulated and brown and can be a great replacement for common table sugar. Both coconut sugar and refined table sugar have 15 calories per teaspoon serving. The flavor profile of this sugar is very much similar to brown sugar and this should be kept in mind before using it in a particular recipe.
Evaporated Cane Juice
Like coconut sugar, evaporated cane juice is also obtained from the sap of a plant. Evaporated cane juice is much different from table sugar and to get this, sugar cane juice is mechanically extracted, heated, and then cooled. This will yield a light brown coarse powder that is crumbly and gritty. Evaporated cane juice retains some of the flavors of molasses and so it does not offer just sweetness. Therefore, you will need to compare evaporated cane juice and coconut sugar for yourself to find the one that best suits your flavor profile.