Everything from caramel apples to candy bars just wouldn't be the same without sugar, and this delectable concoction has come a long way since its discovery centuries ago. Over the years, people have learned to use sugar for a wide range of desserts and special candies.
The Origins of Sugar
Sucrose.com reports that the first form of sugar may date back to as far as 510 B.C., when it was used by natives in Polynesia before spreading to India. When cane sugar was initially discovered, it became a closely guarded secret. Previously, people had thought that this sweet ingredient could only be derived from honey.
By 7 A.D., the secret was out about this cane that held sugar and could provide sweetness in a variety of ways. Although the Middle East started widely using sugar, it did not reach the Western World until approximately 11 A.D., following the Crusades.
Sugar Travels West
After the Crusades, sugar finally made its way to Europe. It was first referred to as a new "spice" and was originally recorded in history in 1099. Although it was many years before sugar-infused foods such as cake pops came along, the Europeans began to see this "spice" as a potential means of profit through trading.
Refineries began to open to condense sugar and make it easier to transport, and by 1750, there were 120 refineries in Britain, according to Sucrose.com. Sugar became referred to as "white gold" and was a large export.
Sugar in the U.S.
As the Europeans were working on refining, Christopher Columbus was thought to have brought sugar cane with him on his journey across the ocean, which he then planted in the Caribbean around 1493. The climate made it easy to grow the crop, allowing it to thrive in the warmth.
However, sugar production in Europe was not as easy - cane sugar was difficult to process, which led to the use of sugar beets instead, according to The Cambridge World History of Food. Today, the European Union is responsible for almost half of sugar beet production in the world, although other countries have created innovative ways to cultivate sugar cane.
The U.S. maintains a set domestic price for its sugar, which is above the world price, and the country also regulates the amount that is imported. Today, this sweet treat is used in everything from cookies to delicious cakes.