Sugar's Natural Process
In Australia the sugar we eat comes from sugar cane which stores sucrose in its stem. In many plants, sugar is stored in the fruit which explains why ripe fruit is usually sweet. Some exceptions are cereals which convert sugar into starch and store it in their seeds, or in their roots like potatoes or sugar beet. Sugar cane is grown in tropical countries and most of Australia's supply comes from Queensland.
To make sugar, sugar cane is crushed in a mill. The juice is clarified to remove cane fibres and other solids and is boiled to produce a thick syrup. From this syrup, raw sugar crystals are formed which are about 99 per cent sucrose with a brown syrupy outer layer containing water and other extracts from the sugar cane such as starch. At the sugar refinery, the raw sugar is dissolved, filtered and crystallised to remove such impurities and produce a range of sugar products, including white table sugar. The syrup helps make such products as brown sugar, coffee sugar, golden syrup and treacle.
No preservatives, artificial flavourings or colourings are added to sugar. The mineral content of raw sugar, brown sugar and syrups is slightly higher than in white sugar, however, the difference is not nutritionally significant for the quantities we eat.