Most of the sugar in the world comes from two sources: sugarcane and sugar beets. So what’s the difference?
Sugar, or sucrose, is a naturally occurring carbohydrate found in all fruits and vegetables. Most of the sugar in the world comes from two sources: sugarcane and sugar beets. So what’s the difference?
Sugarcane is a type of tropical grass that grows well in warm, moist, and tropical climates. Four states produce sugarcane: Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana and Texas. It can reach 10-20 feet in height, and it is harvested by chopping off the stems or canes while leaving the roots so that the plant can grow again, making it a highly stainable crop. The process of separating sugar from the plant is accomplished in two steps, first at a mill and then at a refinery. Cane accounts for approximately 80% of the sugar produced.
Sugar beets on the other hand, flourish in temperate climates where the soil is rich; the growing season lasts about five months. Farms can be found in California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming. Sugar beets are an underground root crop and need to be planted yearly. Since sugar beets are grown and harvested seasonally, factories generally operate for a campaign (a period of time) of four to seven months. During this time, facilities operate 24/7!
Pure cane sugar is non-GMO. Beet sugar can be derived from genetically modified plants. Currently, the US does not require labels to designate whether the sugar is derived from sugar cane or beets. The one way to tell is to look for "Pure Cane Sugar" on the package.
Granulated sugar will last indefinitely if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.