Our Industry Watch today concerns Sugar.
Villified and demonised as it is at the present time, ordinary sucrose has been in use since the 6th century and therefore cannot be at the forefront of the massive health issues we have had in the last forty years. It is vital as a food preservative, it is inert, is one of the only foodstuffs on sale with no ‘use by’ or ‘best before’ dating.
We could be self sufficient in sugar production in this island, sugar beet farmers quietly get on with growing their harvest to be refined into the bags of sugar on the shelf by brands like Whitworths and Silver Spoon. This doesn’t mean that Tate & Lyle’s cane sugar is significantly different — it is all sucrose — it just means it hasn’t travelled as far.
Preservers should learn the power of this natural plant-based preservative and ensure that any modifications that they make to time-honoured recipes because ‘people don’t want to eat sugar’ ensures that they are still preserving the ingredients. There is something in me which whispers away that if you take out so much sugar that the product must be refrigerated then you are no longer preserving.
Jams and Similar Products, as per their regulations, are intended for storage at ambient temperature — if those regulations are not adhered to then the product cannot be known as ‘Jam’ or any of the permitted alternatives in the Law.
Let us not lose these ancient skills of being able to control and preserve harvest at ambient temperature — they are more important than you may think.