The World's Healthiest Foods
Cane juice

Evaporated cane juice is a healthy alternative to refined sugar. While both sweetners are made from sugar cane, evaporated cane juice does not undergo the same degree of processing that refined sugar does. Therefore, unlike refined sugar, it retains more of the nutrients found in sugar cane. Cane juice is available throughout the year.

 


Health Benefits

Face it – every once in a while people just have to have something sweet. So what do you reach for? Hopefully not for the white, refined sugar. Studies have shown that the use of this over-processed food product is associated with such debilitating conditions as adult-onset diabetes and colon cancer. Avoiding foods with white sugar is probably a good idea. So what are the options – artificial sweeteners? Well, the problem there is that certain artificial sweeteners may be even worse for your health than white sugar. Some people attribute negative side effects such as headaches, poor concentration, and even conditions like Attention Deficit Disorder and auto-immune diseases to some of these products. Others have been shown in some animal studies to increase risk of illnesses like cancer.

So it seems like you have to deny your need for sweets or choose between the frying pan and the fire, right? Well, fortunately, there is another option. Certain sweeteners are more natural and less refined than the standard white table sugar crystals. One of those sweeteners is natural dried cane juice. The use of this substance (in moderation of course) has not been associated with any negative side effects or dangerous medical conditions. So you don’t have to deny your needs for something sweet and tasty. As long as you use it sparingly, dried cane juice is a natural source of sweetness that can be a part of a healthy diet.

Description

Evaporated cane juice can be used just like sugar for sweetening foods and beverages as well as in cooking. Since it is considered to be more wholesome, it is also used as a sweetener in a host of processed, natural foods. It may also be known by a variety of other names including dried cane juice, crystallized cane juice, milled cane sugar and direct consumption sugar. In Europe it is known as “unrefined sugar”.

Evaporated cane juice is available in a variety of forms that vary in texture and flavor, although they share the characteristic of being darker in color than white refined sugar:

- Milled Cane: small grained crystals with a golden color and subtle molasses flavor

- Demerara: coarser grained, slightly sticky crystals that feature a noticeable molasses flavor

- Muscovado: very fine crystal sugar that has a very distinctive molasses flavor.

Although not technically considered an evaporated cane juice, rapadura (or panela) is another alternative natural cane sugar that has its traditional roots in Latin American countries. Rapadura undergoes even simpler processing than evaporated cane juice with the sugar cane being simply boiled to remove its water content.

History

The history of evaporated cane juice runs mostly parallel to the history of sugar since it only recently that refinement technology was developed that created methods of processing sugarcane so as to create white, refined sugar. For much of history, what we call evaporated cane juice was the sweetener of choice by all of the different cultures that used sugarcanes.

The domestication of sugarcane is ancient, originating in New Guinea about 10,000 years ago. This plant spread westward throughout the globe, being widely grown in India. Yet, it was not until the Moors (who had learnt from the Indians the secrets of how to process sugarcane into sugar) began traversing other countries during the Crusades of the 7th century that sugar began its expansion, starting in North Africa and Spain. The type of sugar produced varied in color, size, form and molasses content depending upon the exact processing techniques used and the preference of the region in which it was produced. Christopher Columbus is credited with introducing sugar into the New World and the European countries quickly introduced sugarcane cultivation into their colonies in South America and the Caribbean Islands.

In the last few centuries, sugar refineries were built and there was a move towards the creation of refined sugar, often referred to as “white gold”. It has only been recently, in the United States, that there has been a renewed interest in these more natural and less processed form of sugar cane, owing to an increased focus on whole foods and nutrition.

How to Select and Store

How to Enjoy

For some of our favorite recipes, click Recipes.

A few quick serving ideas:

Use evaporated cane juice in place of sugar when sweetening coffee or tea.

Muddle fresh mint leaves, limes and cane juice and add this mixture to sparkling water to make a non-alcoholic version of a mojito, the popular Cuban drink.

Use cane juice in place of refined sugar for baking.

Sprinkle cane juice on top of a sliced grapefruit and broil.

Enjoy one of the favorite kids’ classics – cinnamon toast - with a healthy twist. Drizzle flaxseed oil onto whole wheat toast and then sprinkle with cinnamon and cane juice.

Safety

Cane juice is not a commonly allergenic food, is not included in the list of 20 foods that most frequently contain pesticide residues, and is also not known to contain goitrogens, oxalates, or purines.

Nutritional Profile

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good or good source. Next to the nutrient name you will find the following information: the amount of the nutrient that is included in the noted serving of this food; the %Daily Value (DV) that that amount represents (similar to other information presented in the website, this DV is calculated for 25-50 year old healthy woman); the nutrient density rating; and, the food's World's Healthiest Foods Rating. Underneath the chart is a table that summarizes how the ratings were devised. For more detailed information on our Food and Recipe Rating System, please click here.

 

Cane Juice, Evaporated
1.00 oz-wt
111.43 calories
Nutrient Amount DV
(%)
Nutrient
Density
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 0.16 mg 9.4 1.5 good
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
Rule
excellent DV>=75% OR Density>=7.6 AND DV>=10%
very good DV>=50% OR Density>=3.4 AND DV>=5%
good DV>=25% OR Density>=1.5 AND DV>=2.5%

References

  • Ensminger AH, Ensminger, ME, Kondale JE, Robson JRK. Foods & Nutriton Encyclopedia. Pegus Press, Clovis, California.
  • Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986.
  • Florida Crystals. The History of Sugar Production. http://www.floridacrystals.com/products/aboutsugar/.
  • Fortin, Francois, Editorial Director. The Visual Foods Encyclopedia. Macmillan, New York.
  • Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988.

This page was updated on: 2004-11-19 15:58:06
© 2002 The George Mateljan Foundation