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Origin of Candy: The English word candy was adapted from French candi in the Old French phrase sucre candi. It was zucchero candi in Italian, azucar cande in Spanish, and assùcar candi in Portugese. These words derived from Arabic sukkar qandi 'candied sugar', meaning sugar that has been cooked and forms a ball when dropped into cold water.

Arabic got the word from Persian qand, which came from a Sanskrit root khand 'to break'. The ultimate origin was probably the Tamil word kantu 'ball of candied sugar', and that is related to a word meaning 'ball' or 'lump'. So there you are. Sugar candy came into English late in the fourteenth century and was shortened to simple candy sometime in the eighteenth century.

HFCS: Refined sugar (sucrose) is the predominately used sweetener, but its use has been replaced over time by HFCS. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a liquid sweetener used in the manufacture of foods and beverages. In the late 1960s scientists developed an enzymatic process that transforms glucose from corn meal into a mixture of fructose and glucose.

HFCS is becoming the most preferred sweetener in food products as it is cheaper than white sugar. It is today present in numerous products including soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, baked goods, candies, jams, yogurts, condiments, canned and packaged foods, and other sweetened foods. Per capita availability was 97.3 pounds for refined sugar and zero for HFCS in 1966, and 64.6 and 62.6 pounds for refined sugar and HFCS, respectively, in 2001. (USDA)

Sweet Gene: For the past 25 years, scientists have known that a taste for sweet foods is a trait with a genetic element, but the actual genes have been elusive. About a decade ago, progress was made as scientists determined that a region of the mouse chromosome 4 called Sac (short for saccharin) was associated with a preference for sweets. Scientist have now discovered the gene for sweet tooth. It lies on Human Chromosome 1, is called sweet receptor gene, called T1R3. It is the difference in sequence within the sweettaste gene that decides if you have a 'sweet tooth' or not.

Honey: What is both a sweetener and an antiseptic, is the most mentioned food in the Bible, and is the only food manufactured for us by animals? Believe it or not, the answer is honey. Bee keeping for the collection of honey, a highly prized food was of great value in ancient civilisations. It was used as a sedative by early Romans and Greeks, by Egyptians to embalm their dead.

The French believed that newlyweds were to have drinks containing honey for 30 days following their wedding, and the word 'honeymoon' originated from this custom. In ancient times, honey was a source of sugar and was valued for its medicinal benefits. Composed of the sugars glucose and fructose it so contains numerous other types of proteins and minerals.

When a honey bee takes nectar from a flower, she stores it in a "honey sack” then returns to the hive, deposits the drop of nectar into the honeycomb, and evaporates the water out of the nectar by fanning her wings. Once the honey has aged, wax is used to seal it in the comb. A honeybee makes 154 trips for one teaspoon of honey. A colony produces 60 to 100 pounds of honey a year. To gather a pound of honey, a bee flies a distance equal to more than three times around the world. It takes two million flowers to make one pound of honey.

Sugar India: India has a diversity in the sugar crops that are grown in the country. It is not just sugarcane, that have been used as sweetners over the years. Apart from Sugar Cane, Honey, Jaggery (Cane), Jaggery (Coconut Palm, Jaggery (Fan Palm), and Jaggery (Sago Palm). Jaggery (Date Palm) is cultivated as a primary source of sugar throughout Eastern Asia, and India.

   How did our ancestors manage?   

  • Sugar was practically unknown and formed an insignificant part of the average diet in the Classical civilisations of Egypt, Greece and Rome. In fact the Greeks (who had a word for nearly everything!) did not even have a word for it!
  • When Spain drove out the Moors after the Crusades, it inherited some of the cane plantations. It was during this time that Christendom took its first big bite of the forbidden fruit and liked it.
  • In 510 BC, hungry soldiers of Emperor Darius discovered some "reeds which produce honey without bees" near the river Indus. The reads they had discovered were sugar cane. But they did no carry it with them for growing in their native land.
  • In England in 1226 AD, Henry III had trouble finding 3 pounds of sugar for a banquet, but by 1259 AD, the commodity was more readily available, at a price of 16 1/2 pence per pound.


The sugar crops in India includes Sugar Cane, Honey, Jaggery (Cane), Jaggery (Coconut Palm), Jaggery (Date Palm), Jaggery (Fan Palm) and Jaggery (Sago Palm) where the bark of the plant is the main source of starch.Gur(vellam in the south) or jaggery is a “natural” sweetener made by the concentration of sugarcane juice. It accounts for 50 percent of the sugar eaten in India.

Ancient Medical scriptures mention its great nutritive and medicinal value. t is an energy food that is said to “purify” blood, regulate the liver function and keep the body healthy. Also a potent source of Iron and a superior product among natural sweeteners with regards to the Vitamin contents.

Jaggery from cane sugar or Gur is used in chutneys, in sweetened dals and subzis of the west and eaten with pure ghee and rotis or stuffed, mixed with coconut, into dumplings called ‘modak’, specially made in Ganesh chaturthi because of the elephant's headed God's alleged fondness for this sweet.


100 grams of white granulated sugar

100 grams of jaggery
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Sugar Smacks