Nothing is more important to the making of caramel than sugar! Sugars are found in the tissues of most plants, but are only present in enough volume for extraction in sugarcane and in sugar beets. Sugarcane has been cultivated in Asia since ancient times, with large scale expansion taking place in the 18th century with the establishment of sugar plantations in the West Indies and Americas. This was when sugar became more readily available to common people, as before the 18th century honey was generally used to sweeten foods. Sugar beets wouldn’t become a major source of sugar until the 19th century, when better methods for obtaining sugar from them were developed. Currently, the world produces about 200 million tons of sugar a year and each individual American consumes about 130 pounds, compared to an average of around 50 pounds per person for the rest of the world. Find out more about sugar here!