The regular sugar that we eat is sugar that
comes from either the sugarcane (most of which
comes from Brazil) or from sugar beet (mostly from
Russia). It is composed of two smaller sugars,
called glucose and fructose. Fructose is
the sugar your fruits have, thus called fructose.
Glucose is a little hexagon made up of six
carbon atoms and fructose is a pentagon of carbon
atoms, and both have oxygen and hydrogens hanging
off the hexagon and pentagon. They link with each
other via an oxygen and make the sucrose molecule.
A crystal is a repeating pattern of sucrose
molecules. So, if we put a sugar crystal in
water, water molecules go in between the sucrose
molecules and break the pattern - that's why when
sugar gets wet it dissolves and makes a syrup.
It's not hard to get sugar crystals to grow:
You can do it from sugar syrup which you put in a
clean glass jar and a string that you hang. When
sucrose meets another sucrose, they like to
connect and they start a little crystal. This
first crystal is called a nucleus! If more sucrose
molecules join them, then the crystal will grow
until you eventually get sugar rock candy!
If you ever have a chance to look at chocolate
milk under the microscope and under polarized
light (like taking two polarized sunglasses and
putting them perpendicular to each other), you
will see that sugar crystals will shine! Because
they can orient light. Crystals - not just of
sugar, all crystals - shine under polarized
light. But in chocolate milk they are also
floating among fat droplets.
But what if you want to disrupt the
formation of a crystal forming, just like in
lollipops? To avoid making a crystal, we need
to break the repeating pattern of sucrose
molecules. So, we can add another sugar to
frustrate them! Like pure glucose...or add
fructose, in the form of high fructose corn
syrup...that's why lollipops have so much high
fructose corn syrup.
Keep in mind that there are also other types of
sugars, like maltose and trehalose. Find them