Evaporated cane juice is a healthy alternative to refined sugar. While both sweetners are made from sugar cane, evaporated cane juice does not undergo the same degree of processing that refined sugar does. Therefore, unlike refined sugar, it retains more of the nutrients found in sugar cane. Cane juice is available throughout the year.
This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Cane juice provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Cane juice can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Cane juice, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.
Face it - every once in a while people just have to have something sweet. So what do you reach for? Hopefully not for the white, refined sugar. Studies have shown that the use of this over-processed food product is associated with such debilitating conditions as adult-onset diabetes and colon cancer. Avoiding foods with white sugar is probably a good idea. So what are the options - artificial sweeteners? Well, the problem there is that certain artificial sweeteners may be even worse for your health than white sugar. Some people attribute negative side effects such as headaches, poor concentration, and even conditions like Attention Deficit Disorder and auto-immune diseases to some of these products. Others have been shown in some animal studies to increase risk of illnesses like cancer.
So it seems like you have to deny your need for sweets or choose between the frying pan and the fire, right? Well, fortunately, there is another option. Certain sweeteners are more natural and less refined than the standard white table sugar crystals. One of those sweeteners is natural dried cane juice. The use of this substance (in moderation of course) has not been associated with any negative side effects or dangerous medical conditions. So you don't have to deny your needs for something sweet and tasty. As long as you use it sparingly, dried cane juice is a natural source of sweetness that can be a part of a healthy diet.
Evaporated cane juice can be used just like sugar for sweetening foods and beverages as well as in cooking. Since it is considered to be more wholesome, it is also used as a sweetener in a host of processed, natural foods. It may also be known by a variety of other names including dried cane juice, crystallized cane juice, milled cane sugar and direct consumption sugar. In Europe it is known as "unrefined sugar".
Evaporated cane juice is available in a variety of forms that vary in texture and flavor, although they share the characteristic of being darker in color than white refined sugar:
- Milled Cane: small grained crystals with a golden color and subtle molasses flavor
- Demerara: coarser grained, slightly sticky crystals that feature a noticeable molasses flavor
- Muscovado: very fine crystal sugar that has a very distinctive molasses flavor.
Although not technically considered an evaporated cane juice, raspadura (also known as rapadura or panela) is another alternative natural cane sugar that has its traditional roots in Latin American countries. Rapadura undergoes even simpler processing than evaporated cane juice with the sugar cane being simply boiled to remove its water content.
The history of evaporated cane juice runs mostly parallel to the history of sugar since it only recently that refinement technology was developed that created methods of processing sugarcane so as to create white, refined sugar. For much of history, what we call evaporated cane juice was the sweetener of choice by all of the different cultures that used sugarcanes.
The domestication of sugarcane is ancient, originating in New Guinea about 10,000 years ago. This plant spread westward throughout the globe, being widely grown in India. Yet, it was not until the Moors, who had learnt from the Indians the secrets of how to process sugarcane into sugar, conquered Spain in the 8th century that sugar began its expansion into Europe. The type of sugar produced varied in color, size, form and molasses content depending upon the exact processing techniques used and the preference of the region in which it was produced. Christopher Columbus is credited with introducing sugar into the New World and the European countries quickly introduced sugarcane cultivation into their colonies in South America and the Caribbean Islands.
In the last few centuries, sugar refineries were built and there was a move towards the creation of refined sugar, often referred to as "white gold". It has only been recently, in the United States, that there has been a renewed interest in these more natural and less processed form of sugar cane, owing to an increased focus on whole foods and nutrition.
Choose the form of evaporated cane juice that best suits your taste preferences and cooking needs. Remember that demerara and muscavado have a deeper molasses flavor than milled cane juice.
Evaporated cane juice should be stored in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place where it will keep indefinitely.
For some of our favorite recipes, click Recipes.
A few quick serving ideas:
Use evaporated cane juice in place of sugar when sweetening coffee or tea.
Muddle fresh mint leaves, limes and cane juice and add this mixture to sparkling water to make a non-alcoholic version of a mojito, the popular Cuban drink.
Use cane juice in place of refined sugar for baking.
Sprinkle cane juice on top of a sliced grapefruit and broil.
Enjoy one of the favorite kids' classics - cinnamon toast - with a healthy twist. Drizzle flaxseed oil onto whole wheat toast and then sprinkle with cinnamon and cane juice.
Cane juice is not a commonly allergenic food and is not known to contain measurable amounts of oxalates or purines.
Cane juice is a good source of riboflavin.
In-Depth Nutritional Profile
In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, an in-depth nutritional profile for Cane juice is also available. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.
Introduction to Food Rating System Chart
In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn't contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food's in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients - not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good - please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you'll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food's nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling." Read more background information and details of our rating system.
In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Cane juice
Ensminger AH, Ensminger, ME, Kondale JE, Robson JRK. Foods & Nutriton Encyclopedia. Pegus Press, Clovis, California 1983.
Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986 1986. PMID:15210.
Fortin, Francois, Editorial Director. The Visual Foods Encyclopedia. Macmillan, New York 1996.
Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988 1988. PMID:15220.
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