Rapadura Whole Organic Cane Sugar
To order rapadura sugar through our local co-op, click here to see our current order forms. Or sign up for our emails to be notified the next time we are taking orders for rapadura locally.
We can also ship rapadura directly to you. Visit our store to have your rapadura shipped.
When our family first started eating healthy foods, we thought we were limited to honey as the only natural sweetener. Honey is great, but it sure is disappointing when you try to bake a batch of cookies with it and the batter is so sloppy, you can’t even form it into balls. Not to mention that the cookies end up burning because honey burns so much easier than sugar… Ugh.
So we were very pleased to discover rapadura, a natural sugar that can be used in recipes the same way you’d use granulated sugar. Well, almost.
What is rapadura?
Rapadura is an organic, unrefined sugar with a delicious, caramel flavor and a grainy texture. It is not crystallized, like processed sugars. And unlike white sugar, which is void of any vitamins or minerals, rapadura is actually high in nutrients. It’s very easy to bake with, too.
Rapadura is harvested from sustainable family farms in Brazil through the Hand in Hand, fair trade program.
How do you use it?
Just substitute 1 cup of rapadura for 1 cup of sugar in all your family’s favorite recipes. We use rapadura for everything, but with one exception. It really doesn’t look very good in foods that you expect to be white, like lemon meringue pie or sugar cookies. It may give these light foods an overly molassesy flavor too. But in chocolate, apple pies, cakes, coffee, and most other treats, it’s oh-so-delicious.
Try our daughter’s Rapadura Caramel Popcorn recipe here.
How does rapadura compare with other sugars?
Most people are probably aware that white sugar is not healthy and that it doesn’t supply the body with any nutrients. But there are many other so-called natural sweeteners, that are not much better than white sugar. Sugars such as muscavado, turbinado, demarara, evaporated cane juice, evaporated cane sugar, sugar in the raw, and organic raw sugar are boiled, dehydrated into crystals, and spun in a centrifuge to separate the crystals from the molasses. This process is usually accomplished with chemicals (although it’s sometimes done using pressure). Then, some of the molasses is added back to the crystals, albeit in unnatural proportions, and the so-called “natural” sugar is marketed as a health food.
Possibly even more important than the processing of refined sugar is its lack of vitamins and minerals. Many nutrients are necessary for your body to digest the sugars that you eat. If these vitamins and minerals are not present in the sugar itself, your body must take them out of your bones, your teeth, and other tissues. Sugar cane is naturally rich in the minerals calcium, phosphorous, chromium, magnesium, cobalt, copper, iron, zinc and manganese. It also contains vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, niacin, and pantothenic acid, which work synergistically with the minerals to nourish the body. Rapadura retains all of these nutrients.
Rapadura is made by first extracting the juice from the sugar cane (using a press), and then evaporating the water out of the juice by stirring with paddles over very low heat. This concentrated juice is traditionally formed into a block, but modern methods now dry the sugar and pass it through a sieve, leaving a brown, grainy sugar. Rapadura is organically made and does not contain any other ingredients besides pure sugar cane. Nothing is added, and only the water is removed.
Because rapadura is dehydrated at low heat, and not separated from the molasses, the natural balance of vitamins and minerals present in the sugar cane have been retained. That is THE most important property of rapadura that cannot be claimed by any other type of sugar, including sucanat (which is made by separating the sugars from the molasses and then recombining most of the molasses with the sugar).
Below is a chart comparing the vitamin and mineral content of some of the popular sugars on the market.
Q & A
What is the shelf life of rapadura?
The shelf life of rapadura is… well, I’m not sure. I buy my year’s supply and store it until the next year in a 5 gallon pail. At the end of the year, it looks and tastes the same as when I bought it. -Erin
I wanted to ask you how the sweetness of rapadura compares to the organic sugar you get in the store. I know our sucanat isn’t as sweet. -Cari
I don’t have any organic sugar to compare it to, but I just tasted my ordinary white sugar along with the rapadura, and I’d have to say the rapadura isn’t quite as sweet. I guess that stands to reason since the rapadura contains all the molasses too. White sugar is just the sugar part of the cane. -Erin