Evaporated cane juice, which is sometimes simply referred to as "unrefined sugar," is an alternative to sugar or refined sugar. Although both products come from the sugar cane plant, evaporated cane juice goes through less processing and, as such, contains more of the nutrients from the sugar cane. There are many reasons why people try to avoid consuming white sugar or foods made with white sugar. There are reasons to believe that consuming white sugar can lead to colon cancer and adult-onset diabetes. Artificial sweeteners can also lead to a number of health problems and may be related to a number of health issues.
Instead of forgoing sweet foods altogether, some health-conscious folks choose to use evaporated cane juice instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners. After all, even the biggest health nuts have a craving for sweets every now and then. Evaporated cane juice can be used in exactly the same way as refined sugar is. It can be used to sweeten beverages and foods. It can also be used in cooking.
Sometimes evaporated cane juice is referred to by other names. It is also sometimes called "dried cane juice," "milled cane sugar," "crystallized cane juice," and "direct consumption sugar." All of these names refer to the same product, and can be used to apply to the three main products of evaporated cane juice: milled cane, muscovado, and demerara. To an untrained eye, the three products may look quite similar, but they are clearly different from pure white refined sugar in color and texture.
Milled cane, muscovado, and demerara are all types of evaporated cane juice. The differences in these three products is the texture of their sugar crystals, the color, and flavor. Demerara has the coarsest grain of crystals of all three products. Milled cane has smaller crystals, and muscovado has very fine sugar crystals. All three products feature varying levels of molasses flavor.
The choice between demerara, muscovado, and milled cane depends on taste and usage. Some people prefer one type of sweetener over another because of the flavor and the grain of the crystals. Some find that different types yield different results in cooking and choose between the three accordingly. All three types can commonly be found in health food stores and grocery stores with a large selection of products. They can also be special ordered from health food companies.