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Socker is sugar.


Not sugar cane

In Singapore, we get our sugar from sugar cane. So, it was most surprising, almost revolutionary, when I first learned that sugar in Sweden comes from sugar beet (as pictured above). Something I've never seen before and frankly, I've never heard of. I soon found out that sugar beets are grown in the Nordic region as its cold climate is not suitable for sugar cane. Sugar cane grows well in tropical climates. 

Arrival of Sweetness

Sugar was considered a luxurious food item consumed by the members of the royal family and the aristocrats. It is believed that sugar was imported from the European sugar cane plantations in the Caribbean before the 18th century. Sweden only started producing sugar locally by growing sugar beets in the 18th century. This made sugar more attainable. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Swedish consumption was still low as people only feasted on special occasions such as weddings and funerals, but supply soon exceeded demand. Suddenly Sweden had a surplus of sugar. The situation had gotten so bad that the government took action to encourage the people to eat more according to Leif Henriksson, a lecturer at the Nordic Museum. [1]

This intervention, however, became a huge dental problem that scientists scrambled to investigate the effects of sugar and how to prevent tooth decay. This is possibly the beginning of lördgasgodis

Now Sweden gets its sugar from the Örtofta factory, the only sugar factory in Sweden, and it is one of the largest and most-efficient beet-processing factories in the whole of Europe.



Image by Victoria Priessnitz
Photo: Wix/Unsplash

Beet sugar vs Sugar cane

Let me clarify. First of all, I am not a baker, but I enjoy baking. I have baked using both sugar cane and beet sugar. The cool thing is beet sugar that I purchased in Stockholm is granulated sugar. Why? I buy them blindly without reading the labels. Most of the sugar you find in the supermarket in Sweden are mostly granulated. Correct me if I am wrong here. 

There is a slight difference in my bakes when I use beet sugar. I noticed that granulated beet sugar dissolves more easily than sugar cane. Again, like I said. I'm no baker. I'm just sharing my observations. However, bakers around the world are debating if there are distinguishing differences between beet sugar and sugar cane. They claim that sugar cane caramelises better than beet sugar and that there are slight differences in the aroma and the baking performance between the two sugars.

Well, I shall leave it to the experts to continue debating in this matter. Sugar is sugar to me. 


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