If you are someone who reads nutrition labels conscientiously, you may have come across an ingredient called evaporated cane juice or ECJ. It is frequently found in many processed foods like soda, Greek yogurt, fruit juices, baked goods, and lemonade. While it does sound healthier than plain cane or table sugar, is it really good for you or is it a fancy word for the same old sweetener? Let’s find out the answers in this article.
What is Evaporated Cane Juice?
Evaporated cane juice is a sweetener obtained by evaporating and crystallizing sugar cane juice. Contrary to its name, ECJ is not in a juice or a liquid form. It is found in the form of crystals, just as white sugar. It is light brown in color as it contains traces of molasses.
Because of its name, many manufacturers have faced lawsuits for misleading consumers by portraying it as a healthy ingredient. The FDA has debunked this notion and has suggested that ECJ should be treated the same way as sugar. Take a look at its nutrition facts below.
The nutrition make-up of evaporated cane juice is similar to that of granulated sugar. A teaspoon of ECJ contains about 15 calories and 4g of carbohydrates. It contains other nutrients like protein, insoluble fiber, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium in trace amounts.
Buying and Using
ECJ is available in many local food stores and supermarkets. You can also order it from online stores like Amazon. Keep in mind to choose a USDA-certified organic one for yourself as it is produced and processed keeping in mind soil quality, additives, and pesticides.
Evaporated cane juice can be used in most dishes that call for a sweetener. Here are a few suggestions.
- You can add it to your baking recipes.
- Add ECJ to your creative cocktails.
- If you like sweet tea or coffee, you can add ECJ to your beverage.
- ECJ can also be added to porridge and oatmeal.
Substitutes for Evaporated Cane Juice
A simple, handy substitute for ECJ is table sugar. If you want to go for healthier options then you can use honey, molasses, beet sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, caster sugar, coconut sugar, or date sugar. Use any alternative in the same proportion as you would use ECJ.
Is Evaporated Cane Juice the Same as Sugar?
Both, ECJ and sugar, are obtained from sugar cane. White sugar is highly refined to strip-off all the molasses and it goes through double crystallization. ECJ goes through fewer processes and retains more nutrition as it contains molasses. In terms of appearance, refined sugar is white in color, and ECJ has a light tan color. Ultimately, sugar is sugar. So if you are buying a food item, make sure to check the nutrition label for similar additives, and avoid buying it.