Granulated sugar is sugar that comes in pure, fine white grains.
In the Western world, from about the 1800s on, whenever a cook says “sugar”, s/he means “granulated sugar” unless otherwise specified.
Granulated sugar can come from either sugar cane or sugar beet.
To make granulated sugar, juices are extracted from the plant being used, either sugarcane or beetroot. The juices are then processed and filtered to extract the sucrose in them. The sucrose extracted from either is then refined to be 99.9% pure sucrose, so in every chemical, taste, etc way, the sucrose ends up being identical, regardless of the source.
The sucrose is then crystallized and dried into granules.
Granulated sugar is used at the table, and in cooking and in preserves.
Granulated sugar is the same grade of sugar as is used for caster sugar, except caster sugar is ground to be finer.
The first commercially-viable method of granulating sugar was developed in New Orleans by Jean-Étienne de Boré.
Mark Jacob, co-author of “What the Great Ate”, says: “Henry Ford thought that granulated sugar would cut up his stomach.”1
White, Nancy J. Authors pick Elvis Presley as the greatest glutton. Toronto: Toronto Star. 25 July 2010. ↩