PILONCILLO PANELA BROWN SUGAR CANE
Piloncillo Panela Brown Sugar Cane is an unrefined Mexican sugar that is made from cane sugar made from boiling and evaporating cane juice. Piloncillo is the most common name for this type of sugar in Mexico, but he is also known as panocha or panela in other Latin and Central American countries.
Piloncillo Panela Cones
Unrefined pure cane sugar, in the form of cones, is known as Piloncillo. Piloncillo is the Spanish name for “brown sugar cones.” Especially popular in Mexican dessert dishes, piloncillo can be used to sweeten many favorite meals and even coffee.
Piloncillo is made from pure, unrefined sugar that is pressed into a cone shape. It tastes very similar to brown sugar with a molasses flavor (even though it does not contain molasses) and you can use it for anything that calls for brown sugar. Its name means “little pylon” because of its shape.
Description of the Composition of Piloncillo Panela
Piloncillo Panela is unrefined, non-centrifugal sugar (NCS), a natural nutritional sweetener. The concentrated product of sugarcane juice (Saccharum officinarum L.), Panela is a natural product produced by the boiling and drying of sugarcane juice allowing for the retention of the essential constituents of sugar cane including trace minerals, vitamins, amino acids, protein, and antioxidants. Panela is a valued traditional foodstuff in many sugarcane producing countries in Latin America, Caribbean, Asia, and Africa.
Although published data on Panela composition is relatively scarce and the range of values for components is large, reflecting different cane varieties, agronomical and process conditions, sucrose is the most important component, between 73 and 90%, followed by reducing sugars (4 – 14%) and water. Reducing sugars are half glucose, half fructose.
Piloncillo Panela Small Cones
The mineral content (ashes) is high (0.6 – 2.5%). Protein content ranges between 0.35 and 0.87% and fats between 0.1 and 0.6%. The basic difference between the NCS Panela and refined centrifugal (a.k.a. refined sugar) is the presence of reducing sugars and of significant quantities of minerals and other minor constituents present in Panela. These nutritional and functional differences of NCS Panela are due to the differences in production. Panela is not subjected to a centrifugal process that separates the molasses and crystals, allowing Panela to retain all of the natural benefits of sugarcane such as calcium, chloride, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, chromium, cobalt, Vitamins A, Beta Carotene, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid and Vitamin C.
The published data on mineral content in Panela indicates that calcium, chloride, and potassium are present in the order of 100 mg/100g, followed by phosphorus, sodium, and magnesium (10 mg/100g) and iron and manganese (1 mg/100g); copper and zinc (0.1 mg/100g); and chromium and cobalt (0.01 mg/100).
Since the identification in the 1960’s of phenolic compounds in sugarcane molasses, several reports of their presence in NCS Panela have been published. They show that the Panela from different countries (Japan, India, France, Venezuela) have similar and significant phenolic content, in the range of 0.2 – 0.5 g GAE/100g, as measured by the Folin-Ciocalteu method. Since the first report of antioxidant phenolic glycosidic compounds in Japanese NCS Panela by Nakasone et al. in 1996 (1), at least 26 antioxidant phenolic compounds in Panela have been reported to date (2-6). Other minor components are organic acids, amino acids, aldehydes, alcohols and various volatile compounds.
How to make a basic piloncillo panela syrup
The method is just like making a simple syrup.
For two 3″ cones, you’ll need two cups of water. On medium heat, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Continue on a low boil until the liquid has reduced and starts to become thick. Check it often as it starts to reduce and thicken because the sugar will start to stick to the walls. Turn off the heat and let cool completely before storing.
Some suggestions for using it as a syrup:
- In cinnamon rolls
- Over pancakes
- Over waffles
- To sweeten your oatmeal
- Ice Cream topping
- Coffee sweetener
- In a hot toddy
- Hot chocolate
- Anything else you can think of!
You can even add a few spices to it such as orange zest, vanilla beans, or cinnamon sticks as it boils to create a more flavorful piloncillo.
Be Good to your Health!