Week 38: B/P Sugar

5 lbs of Brown Sugar and 2 lbs of Powdered Sugar (PS Optional)

After this week, you should have 5 lbs of Brown Sugar and 2 lbs of Powdered Sugar stored. This is the program goal.
This is the only week we address Brown Sugar and Powdered Sugar.

Brown sugar is used in so many different things from breakfasts to desserts. Powdered sugar is more commonly used in making frosting and a few other sweets. Remember what we said about comfort food during stressful times. They are more apprecaited than one might realize. While we do recommend storing brown sugar, powdered sugar is certainly optional here. If you don't use either of these sugars, then store something you will use.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is a sucrose sugar product with a distinctive brown color due to the presence of molasses. It is either an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar consisting of sugar crystals with some residual molasses content or produced by the addition of molasses to refined white sugar. It’s used in everything from breakfasts to desserts. Brown sugar can be used in everything!

Difference between Light & Dark:

So what is the difference between light and dark brown sugar? The short answer is molasses. Both light and dark brown sugar contain molasses, but dark brown sugar just contains more. More specifically, Light brown sugar contains about 3.5% molasses and whereas dark brown sugar contains about 6.5% molasses. Along with the increased amount of molasses in dark brown sugar comes a deeper, darker color, slightly more moisture and acidity, and a stronger flavor with more pronounced caramel undertones. But you can use these two sugars interchangeably in recipes calling for brown sugar. For a delicate, light, nutty caramel flavor, use Light Brown Sugar. For a rich, old-time molasses taste and deeper color, use Dark Brown sugar. If you're in doubt or if it's not specified, you might choose the Light Brown Sugar.

Storing Brown Sugar:

Air hardens brown sugar. Store it in a cool, moist area in a covered container. If that's not possible, store the entire container in a second canister with a tight-fitting lid. You can also empty the sugar into a rustproof container (or a heavy, moisture-proof plastic bag) and keep it tightly closed. Even though the shelf life of brown sugar is indefinite, it's best to use it within six months of purchase for maximum flavor. Don't store brown sugar in the refrigerator. However, if you are in a very dry area or are going to keep it for a long time, you may want to freeze it. To use frozen sugar, thaw it for two to three hours. If ice crystals form after long freezer storage, gently stir the sugar as soon as it thaws to prevent pockets of moisture from causing damage.

Soften Brown Sugar:

When brown sugar hardens, it loses its natural moisture. Here are some suggestions to restore the moisture and soften the sugar:

  • If you need to use hard brown sugar immediately, remove it from the package and heat it in a 250-degree oven. Watch it carefully. As soon as it's soft, measure the amount you need right away because it will again harden as it cools. Please use caution. Oven heated sugar is very hot!

  • To soften brown sugar in a microwave, place it in a microwave-safe container, cover loosely with a wet (but not dripping) paper towel, set the microwave on high, and check the sugar every 30 seconds. Again, microwave-softened sugar hardens as it cools so microwave only the amount of sugar you need. Again, it will be very hot.

  • Time permitting, place the hardened brown sugar in a rustproof container with a dampened (not dripping wet) paper towel or napkin placed over a small piece of plastic wrap or foil on top of the sugar. Cover tightly. Remove the paper towel after the sugar absorbs the moisture and softens (about two days) and tightly reseal the container.

Powdered Sugar

Let’s be honest; we only put this one on the 52 week food storage list because we know many of you make cookies, cakes and sweets and these require frosting. However, for those of you who don’t use powdered sugar, don’t worry about this one.

Powdered Sugar is snowy white in color. It has a delicate, soft, supple texture, and it mixes and creams into delicious, smooth frostings. Powdered sugar is also known as confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar. It contains a small percentage of cornstarch to prevent caking, and is available in different grades of crystal fineness.


Most people shopping for this ingredient at the store don't know that it comes in a variety of grades referring to how finely it is ground. 14X is typically the highest grind, but this may not be shown on labels, and for most home baking, it isn't necessary to buy a specific grind. Higher grinds do dissolve more quickly and may be more suited for things like whipping cream. Powdered sugar labeled XXXX is slightly finer than that labeled XXX but they can be used interchangeably.


Powdered sugar has a finer crystal size than Granulated Sugar and contains 3% cornstarch that keeps the sugar soft. Substitutions may result in unsatisfactory results. However if you really want to try, there is of course a way. To make powdered sugar, combine a cup of granulated sugar with about two tablespoons of cornstarch in the blender (about 227 grams of sugar and 57 grams of cornstarch). Blend until the sugar reaches a fine powder. Let the sugar sit for approximately 15 minutes prior to using.


Simply because of its physical makeup, powdered sugar is susceptible to odor pickup. It should be stored in a sealed container, away from moisture and strong odors.

Page updated: 10/13/20