Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Sugars are wonderfully robust materials! Unlike proteins that easily denature and coagulate, unlike fats that are damaged by air and heat and go rancid, unlike starch chains that break apart into smaller chains of glucose molecules, sugars themselves are small and stable molecules. They mix easily with water, tolerate the heat of boiling, and when sufficiently concentrated in water, they readily bond to each other and collect themselves into pure, solid masses, or crystals. This tendency to form crystals is the means by which we obtain pure sugar from plant juices, and it’s the way that we make many kinds of candies. Sugar crystallization is described in detail.