Monday, November 24, 2014

How To Eat Sugarcane: Memories From The Deep South

Blogger's Note:  This blogger had their first Sugarcane at the Old Farmer's Day festival at around age eight.  The outside looks of the rugged stalks belied the juicy delicious syrup contained within.  This time of year is Sugarcane harvesting time in Southern Louisiana, let's take a moment to "stop and taste the sugar".

(Above): Cut stalks of Sugarcane from the harvest. 

From the LSUAg Center website: 

"Sugarcane has been an integral part of the south Louisiana economy and culture for more than 200 years. When Jesuit priests first brought sugarcane into south Louisiana in 1751, little did they know that the foundation was being laid for an industry that now contributes $2 billion to the Louisiana economy.

The first successful sugar crop used to produce raw sugar was that of Etienne de Bore. In 1795, de Bore succeeded in making sugar that was valued at $12,000. A thriving sugar industry soon replaced the cultivation of indigo in Louisiana. The first sugarcane varieties grown in Louisiana were 'Creole,' from which Etienne De Bore first granulated sugar, 'Otaheite,' and later 'Louisiana Striped,' 'Louisiana Purple' and 'D74.' These varieties were called the 'Noble' canes and were characterized by a large stalk diameter, low fiber content and a sucrose content satisfactory for sugar production under Louisiana conditions.

Today, Louisiana sugarcane yields range from 30 to 50 tons per acre, with recoveries ranging from 180 to 240 pounds of sugar produced from each ton of cane. These sugar levels rival yields obtained in the more tropical sugarcane-growing regions. That's why sugar continues to be a major part of the south Louisiana economy."

How to Eat Sugar Cane

From the WikiHow website:

Eat a Sugar Cane Step 1.jpg

Step 1 Take out a sharp knife and a cutting board.

Eat a Sugar Cane Step 2.jpg

Step 2 Cut the stalk into sections between the segments, as the end of each segment is woody and not edible.

Eat a Sugar Cane Step 3.jpg

Step 3 Start from the top and slowly and carefully cut into it and slice down to the bottom to remove the outer, woody layer.
Eat a Sugar Cane Step 4.jpg

Step 4 If you look in the middle of it, you will see the fibrous veins; that is where the sweet sugar sap will be.
Dig into it and pull some of the fibrous material out. 
Eat a Sugar Cane Step 5.jpg

Step 5 Chew it like gum to squeeze out the sugary sap. Spit out the fiber after it is no longer sweet.

Enjoy!  Sugarcane has been a tasty treat for generations of children throughout the South.