Glucose, the smallest and simplest form of sugar, is the substance into which all sugars and starches are broken down to in your body. You can purchase glucose powder, which often comes from tapioca, potato starch, corn or rice, to use in your own kitchen. Generally, it's used to add sweetness and help stabilize frosting, cake batter, cookies, ice cream, syrup, jams and the like. Glucose is a preferred sugar source for some of these sweet treats because of the way it reacts in recipes. However, it also has the same types of benefits for meat processing.
Uses in Baking
Glucose powder, when exposed to moisture, reacts differently from sugar. It doesn't allow water to crystallize, which is important when making frozen desserts such as ice cream, custard and sorbet. Glucose also doesn't recrystallize like regular table sugar; you may have tasted recrystallized sugar if you've ever had a grainy caramel sauce. Glucose powder's role in crystallization and water retention also keeps products smooth and elastic, while extending their overall shelf life.
Uses in Meat Processing
Glucose powder is even used for processing meat in some cases. Manufacturers add glucose powder to the brine during curing -- think sausages, loaves and salami meats -- to improve flavor, texture and color. This simple sugar can also help the cured meat stay moist and keep the product stable on the shelf for an extended period of time.