Sugar, Sugar...I Just Can't Believe the Loveliness of Loving You

Sugar

So goes the song by the Archie's, and so goes my response to waking up with fresh baked, sugar laced raspberry muffins awaiting me in the kitchen this morning. After over 6 months with no granulated sugar, last week I bought Nancy a mondo bag of sweetness from Amalgamated Sugar/White Satin in Boise, Idaho, available at URM.

When we started our year, we swelled with the excitement of finding out about a beet root sugar processor in Moses Lake, only to have our hopes dashed when we learned it went out of business a couple of years ago. I knew about the Boise sugar processor, and I knew that there were likely Eastern Washington sugar beets finding their way into their sugar, but in general we have considered Boise outside our geographic area. So we decided we'd get by with Honey and Thai Palm sugar, which we have enjoyed and will continue to use, especially the honey.

(Go here for the crop profile of sugar beets in Washington State. In 2000 Eastern Washington produced 21,000 acres of beets. What little I learned about the sugar beet industry raised a lot of concerns about traces of chemicals finding their way into the sugar, but that's for another post.)

For Nancy's birthday I decided to surprise her and get a bag of sugar. After all that she has put up with this year as the primary baker/chef in the house, I figured she deserved some momentary sanity in meal planning and preparation. I was thinking a one pound pick me up would do, and for this purchase I wasn't too concerned about where it came from. This was an "off the grid" transaction. But as I rounded the corner of the aisle at URM, I was shocked to find a 50lb bag of sugar crystals with the bold letters, BOISE, IDAHO emblazoned on the side. What happened next is a bit fuzzy for me. There was a flurry of inner negotiations that I think blew some circuitry. It could be the onset of a new form of diabetic coma, induced by being in the presence of large quanitities of sugar, after not consuming it for long periods.  To the best of my recollection I grabbed/hugged the pillowy bag of baker's special and slinked back to the car, looking left and right, like I'd just pulled off a drug deal. Really, all I remember is finding myself driving home with a 50 pound bag of sucrose in the passenger seat, wondering if Nancy had been turned into a pillar of sugar.

The challenge now is figuring out what to do with 50 pounds of sugar. Anyone need a little baggy or two. I'm dealin.

In other news the Greenbluff growers site has linked to yearofpleny's posts on food preservation. The pressures on. I've got to get the rest of my posts up on pressure canning, pickling, drying, and jams.