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Sweets for my sweet

india Updated: Jul 19, 2008 15:22 IST
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Everytime I see busy executives and those white collared professionals having tea.. it's either sugarless or with one pellet of Sugar Free? Why has it come to this situation that the labourers still stick to their three or four teaspoons of sugar in a cutting chai and we say no to sugar?

That's why I say, the quantity of sugar in your tea or coffee is inversely proportional to your status.

Ever wondered what exactly sugar is? Sugars are simple carbohydrates, such as glucose, fructose, lactose, or sucrose, produced naturally and commonly found in fruit, milk and sugar cane.

Sucrose is the sugar that is commonly sold in the markets, as it is easily extracted from sugarcane. The juice of sugar cane is evaporated under vacuum, and crystallised. The remaining liquid is known as molasses.

Life savour it
Excessive consumption of sugar has been associated with increased incidences of type 2 diabetes, obesity and tooth decay .I say, get your doctor or dietician to give you an upper limit for your daily quota of sugar and then stick to it.

Sugar could be a life saviour, think oral rehydrating or in intravenous solutions. Sugar gives us energy. What will be life without meetha? The gulab jamuns, barfis, pedas, laddoos, modaks, halwas.. you can say let the sugar substitutes rule. Yet not everything is possible with substitutes.

How do you get the sugar coat ing on shakkar paras or how do you make sugar paste for cakes? Would jams and mar malades be possible without sugar? Sugar not only makes the jam, it prevents the growth of microorganisms and acts as a preservative. Stabilising factor Another important function of sugar is that of stabilising.

Making meringue? Sugar has a stabilising effect on egg white foam without destroying its structure. And well, Gujaratis would not be satisfied with some preparations if sugar (or gur) were to be deleted from them.

Sugar is not just a sweetener. It has its own flavour and texture that makes soft drinks, cakes, tomato sauce, baked beans and confectionery what they are. Jaggery or gur is a form of sugar and so are the white and brown sugar cubes. You can get a variety of sugars:

Demarara (Brown) sugar: It could vary from light to dark brown with colour and properties depending on inherent molasses content. Ideal for hot and cold beverages, sprinkling on cereals, or as a topping on cakes and cookies.

Caster sugar: Extremely fine grain size makes it ideal for extra fine textured cakes and meringues, as well as for sweetening fruits and iced-drinks since it dissolves easily .

Icing sugar: Pure cane sugar made especially for icings and confections. It is a superfine powder sugar - extremely soluble and melts almost immediately . Contains about three per cent cornflour to prevent caking.

Muscovado sugar: Unrefined, very dark brown shining sugar crystals with a rich aroma.

Powdered (confectioner's) sugar: Fine powdered sugar. Ide al for baking.

Then there is sucrolose, a sugar substitute or an artificial sweetener. It is 600 times sweeter than table sugar, and is made from a process that begins with regular sugar. You can bake with it. The body does not recognise it as sugar or another carbohydrate. That is why diabetics can use it.

The other artificial sweetener aspartame is not always suitable for cooking because it often breaks down when heated and loses much of its sweetness. There are contorversies surronding the possible health risks of this product, and consequently aspartame has lost market share to sucrolose.

Sugar is something that has use outside the kitchen too. I have seen Alyona adding a spoonful of it to a vase to prolong the life of freshly cut flowers. If you have the hiccups, grandma will promptly tell you to have a large pinch of sugar. One thing about sugar is that it attracts ants. They somehow find their way . Now is the time to bring in the cloves and mix them up with the sugar.

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