08 July, 2011
Chemical Properties of Sucrose
Understanding the chemical properties of a food substance can greatly improve the quality of the product being made. A chemical property is a characteristic of a substance that allows it to change form within a reaction. Once sucrose undergoes a chemical change, it cannot be reverted to its original form. Sucrose has a variety of chemical reactions that can occur when the proper mechanics are applied to the substance.
Sugar has a unique ability to convert from a dry solid to a liquid when heated properly. Ed. Informatics states that sugar must be heated in a pan to 320 degrees Fahrenheit for it to begin to melt. If heated further to 338 degrees Fahrenheit, sucrose will begin to caramelize, or browning of the sucrose. Candy makers, for example, find this information important to achieve the proper temperatures.
Sucrose has the ability to form crystals when heated properly. According to the textbook "Understanding Food," crystallization, or formation of crystals, is a vital process in the production in candy. Crystallization can only occur when the sugar solution is being heated.
Depending on what type of candy you are trying to make, you will either allow this to happen or try to prevent it. If trying to prevent crystallization, take a dampened cloth and run along the edges of the saucepan periodically to get the solution off the sides. Make sure that all pans being used are clean and free of small cracks, otherwise this will initiate crystallization.
Sucrose has the ability to be dissolved in water. The amount of sucrose that can be completely dissolved is dependent on the water temperature. "Understanding Food" states that 66.6g of sucrose can be dissolved in 100ml of water at room temperature. However, if you boil that same amount of water, you can completely dissolve 83g of sucrose. If more sucrose is added past that point, the solution is referred to as supersaturated. Solubility is important in the production of syrups that can be used in a variety of candies and other recipes.
- "Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation"; Amy Brown; 2008
- Elmhurst.edu: Chemical Properties
- DAJ/amana images/Getty Images