Origin: Brown sugar is derived from sugar cane or sugar beets. The sugar canes are cut and squeezed for their juice, which is boiled until it thickens to molasses. Sugar crystals settle down out of this mixture and are stripped of the molasses through centrifuging and drying process.
White sugar is the result of this process. But stopping the process slightly early is the way to produce brown sugar. It comes from leaving some of the molasses on the sugar crystals.
Sugar cane cultivation originated in southwest Asia, where Marco Polo wrote in his famous journals that the Chinese used dark brown sugar freely without additional refining process. This sugar cultivation spread to the Middle East and the Mediterranean trade circle in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
In the fourteenth century, the island of Cyprus was the major location of sugar farms, using Syrian and Arab slaves as labor for cultivating sugar. Brown sugar was a byproduct of sugar refining. Brown sugar wasn't used widely in cooking until the sixteenth century.
Brown sugar became popular with the rise of European sugar plantations in the Caribbean in the 17th century. It was widely used as a sweetener in England and its American colonies because it was cheaper than original white sugar.
The Triangle Trade was a three-legged trade route. Manufactured goods went from Europe to Africa, where people were enslaved and taken to the Caribbean islands and sold as slaves. The third leg moved slave-produced goods like sugar, tea, cotton, tobacco, and coffee to the colonies and Europe.
Scientifically: Brown sugar is basically a sucrose sugar product with a distinctive brown color due to the presence of molasses. It is an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar consisting of sugar crystals with some residual molasses content (natural brown sugar), or it is produced by the addition of molasses to refined white sugar (commercial brown sugar).
Commercial brown sugar contains from 3.5% molasses (light brown sugar) to 6.5% molasses (dark brown sugar) based on total volume. Based on total weight, regular commercial brown sugar contains up to 10% molasses.
It is believed that brown sugar benefits include more vitamins, calcium, and iron than refined white sugar because it's not as processed. Brown sugar still has the same calories and negative effects that white sugar does on teeth, blood sugar, and weight.
Usage: Brown sugar uses include sweetening drinks, baking bread and pastries, and making candies and sauces. It's used now to add molasses flavor to baked goods and other recipes. Light brown sugar usually works as a substitute for white sugar. It's also a popular ingredient in body scrubs. The granulated texture exfoliates dead skin cells and dirt from the skin.
Below are some DIYs with brown sugar:
- Take a half teaspoon of brown sugar with honey. Apply this mixture on the lips and scrub off the dead skin. This makes the lips pink and soft.
- Take a teaspoon of brown sugar, a teaspoon of coconut oil and a drop of any essential oil. Mix them together and apply on the face. This helps in fading of acne scars.
- Take a teaspoon of coarse brown sugar and a teaspoon of olive oil. Mix them together and apply on the face for 5 minutes. Rinse later with a scrubbing motion. This helps in exfoliating the skin and makes it supple.
- Take half a cup of coarse brown sugar, half a cup coarse coffee powder and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Mix them together and apply on the cellulite-prone areas of the body or other body parts. Gently massage on the skin and rinse. This helps in removing the dead skin and helps in getting rid of cellulite.
- Mix a teaspoon and a half of brown sugar with some lemon juice and make a paste. Apply this paste on the face and neck for 5-7 minutes and rinse later. This recipe helps in reducing the appearance of acne and helps in achieving clearer skin.