Here’s a fun fact- the name turbinado sugar originates from the Spanish word turbina, which means the centrifugal process of making sugar.
Another fun fact- The brown crystalline sugar you see in your local supermarket aisles or in coffee shops, packaged with the big, bold label “raw sugar” is actually turbinado sugar. Who knew that, right?
These brown crystals are irregular and thicker than normal sugar crystals. And they are exactly what you’re looking for to step up your baking game.
Curious? Let’s take a deeper dive then.
Turbinado sugar is a form of brown sugar. It’s made from the juice of sugar canes.
Sugar is generally made from sugar beets or sugar canes. The latter requires less energy, disposing of fewer waste products, and no added chemicals or gases in its making.
As the process of making sugar from sugar cane is less gruesome to the environment, opting for cane sugar is said to be an ‘organic’ choice. Besides, since turbinado sugar comes from sugar canes, it’s also referred to as turbinado cane sugar.
Similar to the process of making other granulated sugar from sugar cane, turbinado sugar is made by pressing sugar cane to extract the juice. The extracted juice is then crystallized and then partially evaporated. These evaporated crystals are then spun in a centrifuge to remove almost all the molasses.
However, turbinado sugar retains some of the natural molasses, making it different from other refined sugar.
The turbinado sugar crystals are light to pale brown colored and have a large surface area compared to other sugars. As turbinado sugar retains some of the natural molasses, It’s moister and more flavorful than regular sugar.
The fresh-out-of-turbine turbinado sugar is sold as it is or is further refined to make white sugar. So, is it good for you or not?
We’ll discuss all the health and nutrition-related factors of turbinado sugar in the following sections.
First of all, no sugar is ‘good sugar’. Turbinado sugar is no different.
However, turbinado sugar is often marketed as ‘raw’ sugar, but technically it’s not.
Raw sugar is actually contaminated with impurities so it’s not suitable for consumption. Which is why raw sugar has to be further refined to be edible. So, turbinado sugar is not exactly raw, rather minimally processed.
So, if you’re looking to watch your weight, watch the amount of consumption instead.
The nutritional values of Turbinado sugar (per 100 grams) are as follows:
Statistically speaking, turbinado sugar can provide 1% of sodium, 3% of potassium, and 32% of total carbohydrate in your daily diet. Additionally, it can contribute 8% of calcium, 3% of iron, and 2% of magnesium.
Keep in mind that the percentage (%) of the daily value is based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your % of daily intake may vary if your diet requirement is different.
Des this answer your question as to whether it’s healthy or not?
Not really. Here’s why:
To contribute the amount mentioned above, you need to intake 20 tsp (teaspoons) of turbinado sugar each day. And if that isn’t unhealthy enough, its calorie count of 380 and carbohydrate count of 98 g per 100 g gives you more reasons to consume less of it.
So, does turbinado sugar even have any benefits?
Turbinado sugar doesn’t have any health benefits in particular, especially if you consume it in normal amounts. However, if consumed in large amounts, it may provide some minerals.
Overlooking all the health benefits, or lack thereof, turbinado sugar can be used in cooking. Its moist texture and flavor work well in desserts. Besides that, turbinado sugar is also a great treat as a topping!
Turbinado sugar can be used as a sweetener in any of your dishes, and since its large and coarse crystals retain good shape under heat, they work extraordinarily well as toppings on food.
Sprinkling the turbinado crystals as toppings on muffins, bread, cookies, and cakes can give them a crunchy finishing. They can also be used as toppings on cereals, baked fruits, pies, crème brûlée and on baked or roasted vegetables.
This sugar can also be used in baking. Unlike other sugars, turbinado sugar granules don’t easily melt into the batter so they can give a crunchy, professional finishing to your dishes.
However, if you want to replace regular sugar in your recipe with turbinado sugar to add the extra kick, be sure to add moisture as well. Since turbinado sugar doesn’t completely melt, it tends to make your baked product a little dry. You can add moisture by pouring some honey, applesauce, or warm melted butter.
Therefore, you can easily substitute turbinado sugar in place of brown sugar for brownies and cakes. Make sure to add the extra moisture.
Alternatively, if a recipe calls for a dry dough like pastry dough or cookie dough, replacing the required sugar with turbinado sugar is not recommended as maintaining the moisture level will be difficult. Similarly, turbinado sugar is also not recommended in recipes that need a smooth texture like whipped cream or mousses.
Additionally, you can also use turbinado sugar as sweeteners for your daily coffee, tea, or any other hot beverage.
So, whirl up some turbinado and go crazy!
Come up with your own recipes using turbinado sugar, keeping all of its properties in mind, and sprinkle away! Don’t forget to share your recipe with us in the comment section below.
Turbinado sugar is widely available across the State’s local supermarkets. However, if you’re shopping online, there are many good quality turbinado sugars available for you to look from. Such as Now Foods Turbinado Sugar Organic.
True to its name, this particular sugar is organic and USDA Organic approved.
Other products include:
Now, we’ll discuss some questions we frequently face regarding turbinado sugar.
Yes, turbinado sugar is vegan.
Bone char is used to further refine sugar. Since turbinado is not further refined, it doesn’t come in contact with bone char and is said to be vegan.
Confused between turbinado sugar and cane sugar?
Any sugar made from sugar cane is cane sugar. Therefore, turbinado sugar is a form of cane sugar. There are other forms of cane sugar as well, such as white sugar, whole cane sugar and many more.
There is actually no significant difference in the nutritional values between the two. Consumption in high amounts of either sugar can contribute to weight gain and the development of risky health conditions like diabetes and more.
The main difference lies in the method in which they’re processed. Regular sugar can be extracted from either sugar cane or sugar beets whereas turbinado solely comes from the first compressing of sugar canes.
Regular sugar is refined by boiling it several times to remove all the molasses whereas turbinado sugar is boiled only once to retain its natural molasses. There is also a slight difference in taste as regular sugar has no molasses flavor but turbinado sugar does.
No, turbinado sugar has the same nutritional values as regular sugar so it’s not good for diabetic patients. You can consume it in moderate amounts but don’t think of it as a healthier, more suitable substitute for regular sugar. Instead, use honey as a substitute for your daily sugar consumption.
A recipe calling for turbinado sugar but confused on what to use instead?
You can substitute turbinado sugar with –
1. Equal amounts of demerara sugar
2. Equal amounts of light or dark brown sugar
3. Equal amounts of white granulated sugar
4. Half brown and half white sugar
5. Equal amounts of light muscovado sugar
Keep in mind that these substitutes won’t contain the same taste of molasses as that present in turbinado sugar.
Turbinado sugar is usually available in local supermarkets packaged and labeled as ‘raw sugar’. However, if you want to shop online, check our suggested products above.
Turbinado sugar is not a healthier alternative to regular sugar. However, it’s vegan so you can consume it in plant-based diets. Additionally, you can use it in various recipes to give them a fancy, professional finishing. So might as well go ahead and stock up on some turbinado!