Spoiler alert: Sucanat sugar acts like brown sugar.
Hey, so in my zero waste/minimalism mania, I've been trying to figure out how to replace products in my kitchen that are generally packaged very non-environmentally friendly-like. I bake a lot, so it stand to reason that I buy a lot of brown sugar. In its stupid plastic bags. Surely we could do better than that.
I scoped out our bulk section, but couldn't see anything that looked all brown-sugary. The old hippy in our natural foods section (I'd feel bad about calling her that, except that's what she calls herself because she is awesome) happened to be floating around, so I asked her what was what.
And boy, did I get a lesson. Apparently natural food section people LOVE to talk about natural foods.
The short answer is sucanat:
It's made by simply crushing freshly cut sugar cane, extracting the juice and heating it in a large vat. Once the juice is reduced to a rich, dark syrup, it is hand-paddled. Hand paddling cools and dries the syrup, creating the dry, porous granules we call Sucanat. Nothing is added and nothing is taken out!
--From Wholesome Sweeteners websiteApparently (I don't know, science is hard), commercial brown sugar is made by taking everything out to make it white, and then adding molasses back in. "What is wrong with our food system?" she asked after a similar explanation. Then she let me try a sample (she's my new BFF), and based on that little interaction ('cause it was delicious), I filled my glass jar with the little granules with hope full in my heart.
Just in case you're curious, this is what I use for my
bulk flour, sugar, coffee, oats and...
My hippy friend warned me that sucanat does not act like brown sugar when you're baking with it. It doesn't completely incorporate when you're mixing up your baked goods, for example--but that's cool because it melts in the oven. (When I make my vanilla syrup on the stovetop, however, it melts just fine.) It was slightly alarming the first time I mixed up a batch of cookies, just because it IS different than what I was used to, but you guys, the results were so fantastic. How fantastic? Let's just say that I have no interest in buying traditional brown sugar anymore, and not just because of the packaging. Sucanat just tastes better. That's enough for me.
Zero waste victory!
No annoying brown sugar clumps to deal with
When you first switch over and your 15-year-old decides to make cookies while you're at work, she won't believe you that the sucanat is actually the brown sugar and will therefore end up not making cookies after all. That is very disappointing, because you really, really wanted cookies.