Once a luxury only the extremely affluent could afford, sugar was called “white gold” because it was so scarce and expensive. Although Persia and ancient Arabia were cultivating sugar in the 4th century b.c., the Western World didn’t know of it until the 9th century when the Moors conquered the Iberian peninsula. Early sugar wasn’t the granulated, alabaster substance most of us know today. Instead, it came in the form of large, solid loaves or blocks ranging in color from off-white to light brown. Chunks of this rock-hard substance had to be chiseled off and ground to a powder with a mortar and pestle. Modern-day sugar is no longer scarce or expensive and comes in myriad forms from many origins. Sugar cane and sugar beets are the sources of most of today’s sugar, also known as sucrose (which also comes from maple sap — see maple sugar — and sorghum). Other common forms of sugar are dextrose (grape or corn sugar), fructose (levulose), lactose (milk sugar) and maltose (malt



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