How to eat sugar cane?

small town laowai

We live in the largest sugarcane growing region of China, so we’re quite familiar with seeing fields of it, or trucks rumbling down the street piled high with it. We’re also quite familiar with eating it!

It’s considered a fruit (水果 shui3guo3) and great snack here, and so, it’s sold at roadside stalls just like any fruit or snack. For example, guy in background is roasting corn on a little grill to sell as a snack. Purple is the most common kind we see, though we’ve also seen golden and green.

You tell the vendor how many sections (节 jie2) you’d like, and they’ll get you all set up. Here’s our vendor peeling our sugarcane with a cleaver. Because China. There’s a pile of sweet potatoes in the background, ready to get roasted. Also a yummy snack!

Then you hold one end so that she can chop it into sections. In this case, we got two sections. One for each of my sweeties. There’s a plastic bag around one end to keep your hands clean. Hygiene is important, you know.

To eat sugarcane, you gnaw off a bite and chew. And chew. And chew. You swallow the juice as you chew, but DO NOT swallow the pulp. If you’re eating it in China, you simply spit the pulp out onto the sidewalk as you stroll along. Again, because China. It takes some practice to expel the whole wad in one PUH! but just keep practicing, and you’ll develop this handy skill. Copenhagen fans probably have this down-pat.

Continue gnawing and chewing until the cane is gone or your jaw is totally worn out, whichever comes first. For my family, it’s usually the latter, ‘cuz look at the size of these things.

The nice part is that, unlike all the stuff made from its refined juices, I feel like sugarcane might be beneficial to your teeth. Mine always feel so beautifully scrubbed after chewing all that fibrous mass. I don’t know that dentists would agree, but oh well. That won’t keep us from enjoying this lovely “fruit” snack.

A week at our table – Day 1

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Waiter, there’s a tooth in my soup

Sugarcane grows in California, so it’s not uncommon to see short stalks of it for sale at farmer’s markets and in Latin grocery stores. I was at one of these farmer’s markets recently looking for un-cured olives that I didn’t find, so I picked up a three-foot long sugar cane segment for two bucks.

Sugarcane is a type of grass that was transported to the New World by Columbus on his second journey. Once the stalks are cut, the sweet juice contained within the blade begins to oxidize- sort of like how an apple turns brown as soon as you cut it- which is why we don’t see sugar cane juice for sale in bottles. So when sugar cane is harvested it is transported to the factory for processing immediately. I have no idea how old the stalk I bought was.

Sugar cane juice is directly fermented and distilled to make rhum agricole (from French islands like Martinique) and cachaca (from Brazil), or it is processed to make sugar. The byproduct of sugar production is molasses, which can be fermented and distilled to make all other rum.

Seeing as how I don’t have a still at home (yet), I just wanted to play with the sugar cane juice. I found the stalk to be far heavier than I expected, but as it’s mostly liquid I shouldn’t have been surprised. Sugarcane is very fibrous, which makes it hard to cut and squeeze out the juice. Sugar cane refineries use huge roller mills that squish the sugar cane stalks and shred the fibers.

I cut a section of stalk and sucked on one of the pieces. I expected it to taste like sweetened water, but that wasn’t at all the case- sugar cane juice has a bright, delicious raw vanilla flavor. (I’ve identified this as “Mexican vanilla” and “Lik-M-Aid/Fun Dip stick vanilla'” in tasting notes but maybe “sugar cane vanilla” is a better descriptor.) I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Brazil where they crush sugar cane to make juices on the beach (yet), but I completely get how refreshing this juice can be now.

Having sucked the juice out of pieces of sugar cane, I wanted to see how hard it would be to extract the juice from sugarcane at home. It was hard.

You certainly can’t just wring it out. I cut the sugar cane into small chunks and tried muddling. I couldn’t muddle more than one or two tiny pieces at once, so this was a slow process that produced very little juice.

Then I tried using a rolling pin (in reality, an empty bottle of Purista Mojito Mix, which is surprisingly delicious) to roll over longer pieces of sugarcane and squish out the juice that way. It worked a little.

I poured the juice into a glass with soda water, and found it to be far less tasty than the juice on its own. Oh well.

So anyway, now that I’ve determined that sugarcane is really hard to get any juice out of, I need to figure out other ways to extract the liquid (Anyone know where I can buy an affordable sugar cane press?) or other uses for raw sugarcane. Since they sell it in stores around here, people must use it for something…

Sugarcane Benefits: What Is Sugarcane Good For

What is sugarcane good for? This cultivated grass is most often grown on a commercial scale, but you can grow it in your garden too. Enjoy a pretty, decorative grass, a natural screen and privacy border, and the sweet juice and fiber that you can get when you harvest the cane in the fall.

Is Sugarcane Good for You?

Sugar gets a bad rap these days, and certainly there is such a thing as too much sugar. But, if you are interested in more natural, unprocessed sugar to supplement a healthy diet, why not grow your own sugarcane.

The types of sugarcane most useful in home gardens are syrup and chewing canes. Syrup sugarcane can be processed to make syrup, as it doesn’t crystallize easily. Chewing canes have a soft, fibrous center that you can simply peel and eat or enjoy in recipes.

One of the potential health benefits of sugarcane is actually weight management. Researchers are currently studying the possibility that eating sugarcane fiber can help people maintain a healthy weight, lose weight, and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. This may work because fiber tends to offset the detrimental health effects of sugar, including slowing the rise in blood glucose you experience after eating sugar.

Other health benefits of sugarcane include getting more nutrients than you would with processed sugar. Unprocessed sugarcane has plant polyphenols, antioxidants, protein, manganese, iron, calcium, potassium, and B vitamins. Sugarcane may be useful in reducing skin inflammation, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and improving bad breath.

How to Use Sugarcane

In order to get sugarcane benefits, you will need to harvest and enjoy the canes from your garden. It isn’t difficult to do; simply cut the cane back at the base and peel away the outer layer. The interior is edible and contains sugar, fiber, and other nutrients.

You can press it to make a sugarcane juice, which you can add to anything, or you can simply chew on the interior of the cane. Chop up the cane into sticks to use for food skewers or drink stirrers and sweeteners. You can even ferment the cane to make rum.

Sugar should always be limited in the diet, but forgoing processed sugar for natural cane from your own garden is a great option.

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  • 1. The reason behind sugar cane being a popular drink during summers is because it gives an instant kick of energy and quenches the thirst. Sugar cane juice is good source of glucose which as we know, helps to re-hydrates the human body and gives it a boost of energy. So instead of your artificial energy drink, the next time you feel fatigued or dehydrated, consider drinking a glass of cane juice.

    2. Even though cane juice tastes very sweet and has high sugar content, it is good for diabetic patients. It contains natural sugar which has low glycemic index that prevents steep rise in blood glucose levels in diabetics, so it can act as a substitute of aerated drinks for them. However people with Type-2 diabetes should consume it in moderation and after consultation with their doctors.

    3. Sugarcane juice is considered an alkaline forming food because of the high concentration of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and manganese in it. Diseases like cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment and that’s why studies show that it is effective in fighting against cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer.

    4. As sugar cane juice boosts protein levels in the body, it helps in maintaining the health of the kidney. Taken in a diluted form, with lime juice and coconut water, sugar cane juice helps in reducing the burning sensation which is commonly associated with urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, kidney stones and prostatitis.

    5. The antioxidants in sugarcane juice help to fighting against infections and boost the immunity system of the body. It also protects liver the liver against infections and helps in keeping the bilirubin levels in control. This is the reason that doctors advice drinking sugar cane juice to jaundice patients, as it is one of the few things that get digested without too much pressure on the liver and also helps in reducing the bilirubin levels.

    6. Sugar cane juice also acts a good digestive aid due to the presence of potassium. It helps in keeping the digestive system in good shape, prevents stomach infections and is considered to be particularly useful in treating the problem of constipation.
    7. Studies show that sugarcane juice protects against tooth decay and bad breath due to its high mineral content. So save yourself the next trip to the dentist and drink a glass of fresh sugarcane juice to get shiny white teeth.

    8. As I mentioned in a post regarding effects of nutrients on nails, deficiency of nutrients in the body can easily be noticed by looking at the health and condition of your nails. If you have brittle discolored nails that have white spots on them, then it’s time to add sugar cane juice in your diet. It contains everything to give you those strong shiny nails that would look pretty even without a nail polish.

    9. Sugarcane juice has been discovered to be great for those people who are struggling with febrile disorders. Febrile disorders are accountable for resulting in fevers, which can lead to seizures and loss of protein in the body. It is quite common in infants and children. Sugar cane juice helps in compensating the lost protein and helps in recovery.

    10. When it comes to healthy skin, alpha hydroxy acids are supposed to have a lot of benefits. They fight acne, reduce blemishes, prevent ageing and help in keeping the skin hydrated. One of the most effective alpha hydroxy acids is glycolic acid and sugarcane, is one of its few natural sources. Just apply sugar cane juice to your skin and let it dry or add it to your favourite face mask and scrub. Use it regularly to see the effect.

    While the advantages of sugarcane juice are many, it is essential to ensure that it is extracted in a hygienic manner. It’s also important to use and consume the juice as soon it extracted because it tends to get oxidized within 15 minutes.

    Sugarcane: The health benefits of this plant will leave you speechless

    There are some certain things we wont get to know until were told: The health benefits of sugarcane juice is one of them.

    Known and enjoyed for its sweetness, sugarcane juice is one of those rare gifts from Nature whose health benefits cannot be overemphasized.

    The juice, which is one of a kind, is loaded with abundant carbohydrates, proteins, and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and potassium.

    It also contains vitamins A, B-complex, and C.

    In addition, it is a fact that the thirty-six varieties grass plant has no fats. It is a 100% natural drink with about 30 grams of natural sugar.

    However, before we proceed to the health benefits of sugarcane juice, it is important to note here that this wonderful plant can also be effective in the curing of skin issues like acne.

    All that is required of you is to mix some multani mitti in the sugarcane juice and apply generously, the mask on your face and neck.

    Additionally, owing to the presence of antioxidants, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds in the juice, sugarcane can be said to be an active agent of soft and glowing skin.

    What are the health benefits of sugarcane juice?

    Here are some of the astonishing health benefits of sugarcane juice:

    1. Sugarcane juice prevents cancer

    The secret to curing most diseases is to create an environment where it is impossible for them to thrive.

    Sugarcane juice is alkaline in nature, and this is because of the high concentration of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and manganese.

    Thus, sugarcane juice helps creates an alkaline environment in the body that prevent diseases like cancer, because cancer cannot survive in such an environment.

    In summary, sugarcane juice helps in fighting various types of cancer which in breast and prostate cancer.

    2. Sugarcane juice helps the liver to work better

    It is quite sad that a good number of people do not know the usefulness of the liver to the human body.

    Among the numerous functions of the liver, one of its major is to detoxify chemicals and metabolizes drugs. It also secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines.

    However, once the liver starts losing its functional ability, the result is usually detrimental.

    Sugarcane juice, on the other hand, is not only regarded as one of the best treatments for liver-related sicknesses, it also aids the liver to function better.

    This can be done by drinking a glass of sugarcane juice mixed with lime, twice daily.

    Another important function of this plant is that it maintains the glucose levels in your body. And being alkaline in nature, sugarcane juice helps maintain electrolyte balance, thus preventing the liver from going into overdrive.

    3. Sugarcane juice promotes quick digestion

    As a result of the high level of stress, processed foods, antibiotics, and chemicals in our food supply, our digestive system is gradually becoming affected on a daily basis.

    Be that as it may, the high level of potassium in sugarcane juice makes it very good for the well-being of the digestive system.

    In addition, sugarcane juice helps to prevent stomach infections and also aid the treatment of constipation.

    4. It helps to fight infection and boost immune system

    Sugarcane juice is loaded with antioxidants, and these antioxidants help to fight infections and boost the immune system of the body.

    Again, we cannot help but state that it also protects the liver against infections and helps in keeping the bilirubin levels in control (Bilirubin is a reddish yellow pigment made during the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Normal levels vary slightly from lab to lab; they range from about 0.2 – 1.2 mg/dL).

    This, among many other reasons, is why doctors’ advice jaundice patients to fight the sickness with sugar cane juice.

    ALSO READ: 6 surprising health benefits of sugarcane juice

    5. It prevents heart diseases and reduces weight

    The presence of too much cholesterol in the blood walls the arteries, thus resulting in atherosclerosis, a form of heart disease.

    Atherosclerosis narrows the arteries and slows, or even block, the flow of blood to the heart muscle.

    Sugarcane juice, on the other hand, help reduce the bad cholesterol levels in the body; making it a preventing agent of heart disease.

    And owing to the fact that sugarcane juice is high in soluble fibre, it also helps in weight reduction.

    Not true, Lucy S. Sugar cane is a whole food – a grass actually – and any whole food that is consumed as nature intended is much healthier for you than what we process with it. Therefore, sugarcane, because it has fiber and nutrients (yes! sugarcane is full of nutrients, and is LOW on the glycemic index when consumed whole!) is a healthy additive to your diet. It has been known to fight viruses like cold and flu as well as having cancer fighting compounds. It is also extremely hydrating, and can balance electrolytes when taken after sports since it has a fair amount of potassium. It is also a mild laxative, and can help clear your body of kidney stones and keep the urinary flow clear. Since sugarcane contains no simple sugars either, it’s only when we process it that it becomes unhealthy, and contains ample carbohydrates when consumed whole. Just like you would not eat a dozen bananas or oranges in one sitting, one would be wise not to consume an entire shoot of sugar cane for obvious reasons. But no: it is NOT refined, white sugar. Refining sugar removes all of the nutrients in sugar cane, and it is processed through bone meal and bleached. It is a product devoid of all nutrients because processing removes them. In fact, molasses is the byproduct of sugar processing, which is why it’s actually good for you and contains a fair amount of vitamins and minerals. It is all the ‘good stuff’ that we take out of sugar can in concentrated form. Feel free to eat sugar cane in its raw form as a treat. Don’t overdo it, but then, try not to eat a dozen bananas either, and you should be able to happily and safely consume sugar cane for a delightful and occasional treat!

    From weight loss to clearing up your skin, 6 benefits of drinking sugarcane juice

    If, as a child, you have ever visited a sugarcane field or stopped by at a sugarcane juice vendor on the road, you would surely know that having a big glass of fresh sugarcane juice is not just yummy but highly refreshing. But what if we also told you that it is a superfluid that could up your health levels a notch?

    Also read: Oh honey! Here are 5 amazing benefits that would make you sip this sweet liquid

    Sugarcane can be eaten as is or consumed in the form of juice. Popularly known as ganne ka ras, the juice is not just another drink, but one of the healthiest drinks that you could lay your hands on. Here are a list of health benefits of sugarcane juice that will put a lot of natural and artificial energy drinks to shame.

    Also read: 5 health benefits of eating carrots this winter

    1. Prevents cancer: Sugarcane juice is alkaline in nature because of the high concentration of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and manganese, which helps prevent diseases like cancer, that cannot survive in an alkaline environment. Thus it helps in fighting various types of cancer such as prostate and breast cancer.
    2. Aids in digestion: It is good for the well-being of the digestive system due to its high potassium levels. It helps in keeping the digestive system in good shape, prevents stomach infections and is considered to be particularly useful in treating the problem of constipation.
    3. Prevents heart diseases: It also prevents heart diseases and stroke as it helps decrease the levels of unhealthy or cholesterol and triglycerides.
    4. Helps in reducing weight: As sugarcane juice reduces the bad cholesterol levels in the body and has natural sugars, it helps in reducing weight. It is high in soluble fibre which aids in shedding weight.
    5. Good for treating diabetes: Sugarcane is sweet in taste and is full of natural sweeteners, which have a low gylcemic index (GI), hence it works very well for diabetic patients.
    6. Clears skin imperfections: When it comes to healthy skin, Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) which are part of the natural constituents of sugarcane juice, are supposed to have a lot of benefits. They fight acne, reduce blemishes, prevent ageing and help in keeping the skin hydrated. Just apply sugarcane juice to your skin and let it dry or add it to your favourite face mask and scrub, and your skin will look radiant and clean.

    10 Benefits of Sugarcane Juice for Health and Skin

    There’s nothing better than a chilled glass of sugarcane juice on a hot summer day. Sugarcane, a grass plant that can be found in 36 varieties, has no fats and is a 100 percent natural drink.

    An 8-ounce serving – approximately 240 ml – of sugar cane juice (without any additives) contains 250 calories, with 30 gm natural sugars. It has zero content of fat, cholesterol, fiber and protein but contains sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. You would think that this sugar-rich drink can’t possibly have health benefits but we’ve rounded up 10 of them for you.

    1. It gives you a shot of instant energy

    There’s a reason sugarcane juice sells at most roadside kiosks in summer. It’s the best way to energise yourself, and ensure you don’t experience dehydration. The simple sugars in the juice are easily absorbed by the body and are used to replenish sugar levels.

    2. It enhances liver function

    Sugarcane juice is said to be one of the best natural treatments for liver-related ailments such as jaundice. Alkaline in nature, sugarcane juice helps maintain the electrolyte balance in the body.

    3. It can help the body fight cancer

    The high concentration of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and manganese makes sugarcane juice alkaline in nature. This – along with the presence of flavonoids – helps the body stave off cancerous cells, especially prostate and breast cancer.

    4. It eases the digestive system

    People suffering from digestive distress would do well to include sugarcane juice in their diet. The potassium in sugarcane juice balances the pH levels in the stomach, facilitates the secretion of digestive juices and keeps the system on track. It also helps prevent stomach infections.

    5. It is helpful for people with diabetes

    The high sugar content in sugarcane juice may make diabetics wary of consuming this juice. But, in moderation, sugarcane juice can benefit diabetics – the natural sugar has a low glycemic index, preventing spikes in blood glucose levels.

    6. It maintains kidney health

    Being a natural low-cholesterol, low-sodium food with no saturated fats, sugarcane juice helps keeping the kidneys in top shape.

    7. It alleviates pain associated with STDs & UTIs

    Consumed in a diluted form, with lime juice and coconut water, sugarcane juice can help reduce the burning sensation associated with sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infections, kidney stones and prostatitis.

    8. It aids in development of bones and teeth

    Back in the day, chewing on a sugarcane stick used to be a regular pastime for young children and adolescents. Apart from keeping them occupied, the calcium-rich sugarcane also ensures proper development of the skeletal system, bones and teeth.

    9. It keeps bad breath & tooth decay at bay

    Experiencing bad breath linked to tooth decay? Sugarcane juice can be your saving grace. Rich in minerals, including calcium and phosphorus, sugarcane juice helps build tooth enamel and strengthening teeth and ensuring they are prone to decay. It also overcomes bad breath caused due to the deficiency of these nutrients.

    10. It can help cure acne

    Topical use of sugarcane juice can help reduce and cure skin problems such as acne. Sugarcane juice contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid, which increase cell turnover. They also exfoliate the skin, eliminating chances of acne buildup. Just mix with Fuller’s earth (multani mitti) into a mask-like consistency, apply on face and neck and leave on for 20 minutes. Wash off with cool water.

    Sugar contained in sugarcane juice is natural, but keep in mind that it is essentially sugar. Consume this healthy beverage in moderation, and run it past our Coaches if you suffer from a medical condition.

    Next Read:

    Coconut water is a craze, but is it good for you?

    Vitamin E: 7 amazing benefits that you need to be aware of

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