I was planning to order a 50 pound bag of sucanat today, so that I’d have plenty in stock to tide me over for a while. I called the supermarket that was going to order it for me, and they gave me a choice of two kinds of sucanat. Because I didn’t want to order the wrong one – I only want the true unprocessed sugar cane juice in granular form – I called the bulk supplier for the supermarket to ask about it. The representative was very helpful and read me the ingredients on the packaging of each, which let me know that what was being sold as ‘natural sucanat’ is basically sugar with molasses added in, and it’s the organic sucanat that I’ve been buying in smaller amounts all this time (from Wholesome Sweeteners).
BUT – she told me they haven’t had received any shipments of it for months! And they have no idea why they haven’t been getting it, or when they will get it. This is a massive food bulk food distributor that supplies most of the health food stores within a several state radius, and I was quite dismayed to hear this. Sucanat is the main sweetener that I like to use for baking, and I don’t know what I’ll use if I can’t find this that nutritionally will be as good, and I have less than ten pounds left.
So off I went on a search at my local health food store for sucanat. No luck. the people working there had never even heard of it! I did find turbinado sugar, but wanted to research it before buying it, since most of the so called healthy sweeteners are heavily processed. Many people say that rapadura, sucanat, turbinado, and demerara are interchangeable, but nutritionally there are significant differences. So I went home and did some research to clarify this for myself, since it’s been a while since I looked into it all and the details are fuzzy.
As expected, raw sugar and turbinado are basically the same thing, and I don’t want to use either of them. Even looking for sucanat can be misleading (as I personally learned this morning) since some things are labeled as sucanat but are basically glorified brown sugar. The easiest way to tell if you’re getting the good stuff is to just look at it – if it’s grainy granules, then it’s rapadura or sucanat, and if it’s crystalline, then it’s what I want to avoid.
So tomorrow I’m going to make some more calls and find out what local stores have rapadura, as well as if it’s possible to buy it in bulk.