Sucrose
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Sucrose is an organic compound with a naturally Sweet taste. “Sucrose” (sometimes called “saccharose”) comes from the Latin word for Sugar (“Sucrum”) and is an organic, white, odorless, crystalline powder that we typically call Table SugarRefined SugarWhite Sugar or Granulated Sugar.  Sucrose is a Disaccharide complex sugar composed of the simple sugars (MonosaccharidesGlucose and Fructose.

In our bodies during digestion, Sucrose is broken back down to its component parts (Glucose and Fructose) by enzymes collectively called Sucrases.

Alexander the Great’s army found the people of the Indian sub-continent already growing and refining sugar when they halted their eastward march on the banks of Indus river. The local Indian people called the sweet, granulated powder “saccharum.”  It is thought that the Indians discovered cane sugar production prior to the 8th century BC when an ancient Chinese manuscript mentions Sugar Cane as an Indian discovery. By about 500 BC, ancient Indians were making sugar syrup and cooling it in large flat bowls to make raw sugar crystals that were easier to store and transport. These sugar crystals were called “khanda” in the local language which is the root for our modern word “Candy.”

Macedonian soldiers carried the "honey bearing reeds" with them on their return home. The crop remained hard to grow and therefore scarce for a thousand years or more. The Sugar Trade was the corner stone of Venice’s commercial trading empire. Only after the Crusades did Sugar begin to become more widely available in Europe.

In 1506, 14 years after Columbus’ maiden voyage, the Spanish began cultivating sugarcane in the West Indies. The Portuguese first cultivated sugarcane in Brazil in 1532. Sugar production became a major agricultural business. As production increased Sugar went from being a luxury of the nobility to a product available to the masses.

Production

Sucrose is typically extracted from the stems of Sugar Cane and the roots of Sugar Beets with hot water which is made into syrup from which solid Sucrose can be crystallized.

Brazil, India, European Union, China, Thailand, and The United States are currently the major sugar-producing countries in the world.

Varieties

Sucrose comes from two major plant crops: Sugar Cane and Sugar Beets though Sucrose can also be found in lower densities in Dates (Date Palms), Sorghum (Sorghum Vulgare), some Root Vegetables (such as Carrots) and the Sugar Maple (Acer Saccharum).