Saturday, January 15, 2011

sugar cane - nature's candy

Saccharam sp. -- the plant we know and love for helping add a little sweetness to our lives. There are some 35 species of sugarcane, members of the grass family Poaceae. Sugar has an extremely long and not all that pleasant history, to read more on this topic I highly recommend Sidney Mintz's book " Sweetness and Power"

Here in Chidambaram, where sugarcane is cultuivated in all the surrounding fields along with paddy, the purple sugarcane is honored during the festivities of Pongal. After using them for the festivities, we get to cut open the stalks and chew on the yummy pith - savoring the sweet water within. Lining the streets here you will see vendors selling fresh sugar cane juice - I had once believed that they added water to the sugary nector, but no! The stalk contains so much water. We first split the cane, then skinned off the outer purple layer and cut the stalk in to small bits - just like candy. You chew the bits to release the yummy sweet liquid then spit out the fibrous remains. so sweet and tasty!

1 comment:

Shira Wakschlag, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund said...

I remember doing that when I was in Ghana for the summer. SO delicious!