Stands for Su
ural. Brand name
of a sweetener
made from evaporated
, cane juice
. Sucanat is sold
as tiny granules
of the juice that have been dried in such a way that they have a light, airy quality.
Sucanat tastes somewhat like regular brown sugar, but brown sugar is just refined white sugar to which molasses has been added. The appeal of Sucanat as advertized is that it is less tampered with; in addition, refining white sugar usually involves the use of activated charcoal made from animal bones, which arguably makes refined sugar not vegetarian. In addition, it is made from organic sugar cane.
Sucanat is also a little bit less sweet than brown sugar or white sugar (containing about 91% sucrose to white sugar's 99.9%), but generally can be subsituted one for on in most recipes calling for brown sugar, and many using white sugar (although generally turbinado sugar is a better match for those, being filtered cane juice but still unrefined. I do find its flavor more complex than standard sugars, and a nice enhancement to my recipes. It's also really good in your coffee.
Sucanat contains more of the trace minerals found in the sugar cane plant naturally. That this makes it a healthy product is probably a dubious claim at best, but it certainly is better tasting. Some people do believe it will not create the same sugar rush that white sugar does, however.
Sucanat is available in health food stores and can often be bought in bulk, which is how I get it.
Even if you don't have the ethical issues with white sugar, I'd recommend sucanat as a replacement for your brown sugar usage.