Monday, September 18, 2006

Vegan sugar

You, like me, are probably thinking "Well, how the heck could sugar NOT be vegan?"

Turns out that the processing method for cane sugar refinement includes a step involving charcoal purification. And in some processing plants that charcoal is in the form of "bone char" - charcoal created from the leftover bones from meat slaughtering. This product used is so far processed from its animal origins that Kosher law considers bone char filtered sugar to be pareve, but for hardcore vegans it still presents a problem.

If you're a concerned vegan or vegetarian, you're in luck - sugar made from sugar beets does not require this step. However, it can be difficult to tell what plant the sugar you're buying is refined from, beets or sugar canes. For readers who have a Meijer nearby to frequent, they do label their store brand sugar as being from sugar beets. And of course, another option is simply to use alternative sweeteners or less refined cane sugar. (Beware of brown sugar, which is often just refined white sugar with molasses added back in.)

More info here.

And that's my "something new" learned for today! Of course, it just adds an extra wrinkle to the problem that I was researching in the first place (creating a vegan chocolate truffle) as now I have to worry about where the sugar in the chocolate comes from!

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