What is brown sugar?

Panela is a type of sugar considered as the purest, natural, handcrafted, unrefined and unbleached, made directly from the juice extracted from sugar cane. Panela is from Colombia and is generally much consumed in Latin America.

As for taste, is caramelized and has a much more refined sugar sweetening power, having the same uses as this. It is highly beneficial as it holds a unique production process so that unlike normal refined sugar, brown sugar and preserves the natural flavor all its nutrients, among which are many essential vitamins and minerals.



Although in many countries around the world use raw sugar, called "panela" (from the process of "baking" excerpt from sugarcane), can be attributed only to Colombia (second largest producer, after India ). That's why, that depending on the country, can be called panela or Papelón Chancaca (Venezuela, Chile, Argentina and Peru) piloncillo (Mexico) Scrape (Brazil, Panama and the Canary Islands in Spain) or Jaggery (India or Pakistan) among others.



Panela, being pure, its preparation is free from all kinds of chemical additives own making refined sugar, which loses molasses (continent of all the nutrients in the juice of sugar cane as minerals, amino acids and vitamins ) to be subjected to processes such as sulfation, decoration and filtration.

Commonly sold in hard blocks and planes, or powders, which makes it an economical and available for many consumer product. In Spain you can find shredded in most herbalists and health food stores, and block stores specializing in South American products.


 We will discover more things about panela, and know why you've consumed several years instead of refined white sugar or brown:

How panela made?

Panela is the juice of the sugar cane, based on several boils, it loses moisture and concentrated molassesor to form a mush that cools and solidifies dry shaping block. During the manufacturing process, panela producers used brass instruments instead of tempered steel used in the traditional sugar, avoiding the remains of nickel that can be used as a result of heat. This makes for a completely hygienic process and 100% chemical free.


Generally, panela blocks can be produced at a large commercial scale, or even a handmade by local producers:

• A commercial scale sugar cane is crushed to extract the juice from the stems. The juice is filtered and heated to lie some ingredients disappear cause certain impurities are added. When purified cane juice sugar is heated, this is reduced to a more concentrated form, to make way for the subsequent crystallization of sucrose. This concentrate is mixed until it begins to crystallize by evaporation, being ready for packaging, which harden and will become panela.

• The method used by local artisans is much more basic. Artisans use mills to extract juice from sugar cane. I slip a hand, and then it spread in large containers. Instead of heating the liquid, condense slowly let through natural evaporation to thereby crystallize. The final product is packed and sold, often carrying a specific denomination of origin. In both, the hard blocks are granulated brown sugar typically a coarse powder for easy consumption.

How can I use brown sugar in the kitchen?

Being blunt, panela, has exactly the same uses as refined sugar we all know. Therefore it can be used with all kinds of sweets and desserts, tea, coffee, chocolate, yogurt, milk, smoothies, juices, jams, syrups, etc.. It is a condiment very appreciated by many prestige chefs because of its purity and naturalness.

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In Colombia, the panela is used in a typical drink called "aguapanela" consisting of brown sugar dissolved in hot, tasty and loaded with calories, vitamins, minerals and water. The brown sugar gives a darker color like coffee. You can also add lemon or lime, or you can also add pieces of cheese.

What benefits us versus refined sugar panela?

The sugar cane is composed of 83% sucrose, 6% glucose, 6% fructose, constituting 85-95% of carbohydrates, the main energy source. Protein intake is 1%, the ore to 0.50% and 0% fat.


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With regard to refined sugar, brown sugar substitute principal, almost no points of comparison, since this sugar is made entirely of sucrose with complete lack of minerals and vitamins.

To get an idea, only 100 grams of panela meet almost 15% of the RDA of vitamins and minerals for adult (gr./100 contains 2.8 gr., Compared to only 300 mg/100 g.'s white) sugar.

Minerals, contains 50 times more than refined sugars, whether blanquilla or tan. For example, per 100 grams: magnesium (81 mg.), Calcium (80 mg.), Phosphorous (68 mg.), Iron (12 mg.), And minor amounts potassium, manganese, zinc, copper, fluorine, and selenium .

As to vitamins, there are the A, B, C, D and E, especially those belonging to group B, such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8 and B9, essential to the proper functioning of the body and essential for mineral absorption. In no excessive caloric difference, if it is true that the brown sugar has less to owning Kcal./100 310-350 gr., Compared with 400 gr Kcal./100. refined sugar. So, we might consider refined sugar as a perfect source of empty calories because it provides virtually no nutrients.

However, despite their wealth, like regular sugar, brown sugar can not be considered a major source of such nutrients as primarily remains a condiment and can not form a basis of any diet, so consumed in very small (perhaps about 10 grams per day) amounts, less than regular sugar, not being required to be refined.

In terms of chemical purity, the truth is that, unlike sugar cane, refined sugars may contain chemicals such as sulfur dioxide, phosphoric acid, bleaching agents and viscosity reducers.

All these properties provide benefits as described above:

  • Strengthens the immune system, preventing diseases of the respiratory and urinary system.
  • Strengthens bones, fights cavities and prevents osteoporosis (yes, even a sugar), due to the presence of phosphorus and calcium become part of the tooth structure and alkali cations (potassium, magnesium, calcium), capable of neutralizing the excess acid, a major cause of tooth decay.
  • Regulates heartbeat and nervous excitability.
  • Helps fight anemia, rickets and osteomalacia.
  • In addition, recent studies have found that helps panela translocation or cleaning smoke particles in the lungs of rats.
For this reason, the use of refined sugar in the modern diet gives rise to so-called "diseases of civilization" or even "deficiency diseases," among which occupy a very important place dental caries, among others.

Uses and Benefits of Panela

The panela or brown sugar cane is a staple food for rural people replacing refined sugar and, unlike the latter, has a high amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, because, its manufacturing process is completely natural and therefore the loss of nutrients own product is avoided. The product is made from sugar cane, which is payable with organic and compost products. During this process, any fertilizer or chemical pesticides currently used, thus constituting a totally organic farming.


The cane is harvested selecting the most mature, leaving the rest of cane development until maturity is complete. The finished product is obtained by concentrating the cane juice extracted by evaporation to obtain a thick syrup, allowing then the syrup solidifies. Granular form based beat it manually is achieved.

The difference is that sugar panela is a healthy and balanced supplement sweetener: contain the essential nutrients for the body in adequate amounts and proportions, lack of substances harmful to the consumer, providing enough power for the development of metabolic processes.