Muscovado is pure, unrefined, non-centrifugal cane sugar. It is also called 'poor peoples sugar'. Muscovado retains all of the natural ingredients of sugar cane, making it an unrefined sweetener. Although commonly used in Latin America and Southeast Asia, these products are relatively difficult to find in the US.
Many people compare muscovado to brown sugar, and while there are similarities in its flavor and use, they are two totally different products. Natural sugar, such as Muscovado, still contains the original components of the raw sugar cane plant while brown sugar is made from refined white sugar with a small amount of molasses added to it.
Muscovado (from the Spanish mascabado, meaning unrefined) in South Asia is also known as gur, jaggery, and khandsari. In Latin America it is known as rapadura, pamela or piloncillo. In Colombia it is called chancaca. Whatever name you may know it by, this product is unrefined, non-centrifugal cane sugar with a high molasses (mineral) content. Although commonly used in Latin America and Southeast Asia, these products are relatively difficult to find in the US.
This is how Muscovado Sugar is made
1. Our Muscovado is made the old fashioned way with Kalamansi (a tiny native lime similar to Key Limes in Florida) and fresh coconut milk. First the sugar cane is cut/harvested (by hand). It is washed and then chopped, soaked and pressed to extract the juice from the sugar cane. This juice is heated with a little lime juice added. They also cut coconuts off the trees, grate the coconut meat and press out fresh coconut milk, which is sprinkled into the heating cane juice. This keeps the juice from foaming as it heats. The resulting Muscovado is actually about 0.2% coconut milk.
2. Once this cane juice becomes thick and crystalizes, it is poured into coconut shells or cups where it finishes solidifying by sun drying. The dried cane juice is then pounded to yield a natural, moist, unrefined sugar. It is not uniform in color or texture. It is more unprocessed than any other cane sugar we have found.
3. This "unrefined" sugar is darker in color than "refined" sugar because it contains what sugar producers call "impurities" and because some carmelization does take place during the evaporation process.