Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sugar cane : 2, Red

My sister Helen lives in Australia. This closeup shows the bottom end of the sugar cane which you can eat because it is very hard and has root. She just sent me this email.
Phil had just "harvested" some sugar cane yesterday. We love our sugar cane.

My fellow blogger Ruth's comment on my previous post on sugar cane has given me a warm fuzzy feeling. We too in Borneo, ate sugar cane unprocessed.

Here's my reply to her.

Hi Ruth, Your comment on my sugar cane post is very interesting. I will email all my siblings and their family who live in Sarawak and Singapore and even in Australia. We used to chew the cane, but we didn't soak it in lemon juice. I am sure they would love it. You are right about refined sugar.

Cheers, Ann

In Sarawak, most households grow some sugar cane. We grew the big ones which is about 2 inches diameter. They are the green ones and grow to about 8 feet tall. ( The ones in Australia are thin and are grown very close together)

On a hot humid day, in stead of having an afternoon tea, we had a healthy snack. Mum would get us the older ones (we had 9 kids) to get the kitchen chopper and chop a few canes. We chop off the tops where it is young and not so sweet and where the leaves are. We also chop off the lower end where there are immature roots and the cane is too hard to bite into. We chop them into lengths of one foot. For the littlies, Grace, Henry and Helen, Mum made us strip the hard outer layer, ( skin??) and then quarter them, and cut them into 6 inches. That made it easy for them to eat. For the rest of us, we just used our teeth to bite about three inches and then peel the hard skin off. We chew the fibre and suck the sweet juice.Then we spat the fibres out and later swept up and returned to the clump of sugar cane. We were composting before the word became popular. (These fibre is now used for making paper) We sat downstairs under the open "basement" as our houses had stilts. It is very hard work eating the sugar cane as the joints are very hard, and we had to bite it off. It was also good bonding time. Some of us sat on the stairs, others on wooden crates.

Another advantage, my late grand father went to meet his maker, never ever been to see the dentist. He and I have perfect teeth. I have no cavities in my mid fifties pearlies. When you chew the fibre, it is better than brushing your teeth with a tooth brush.

We generally always ate sugar cane this way, there are some people who boil them up with water, and it is used for medicinal purposes. They use the red one as shown in the photo. This clump of sugar cane is grown in a semi temple in Sandringham. I was looking for things purple for my Sunday Stills meme, and was wondering if I should use it as it is more burgundy than purple.

I didn't tell you what inspired me to write a post last night about sugar cane. When I was on my trip in Singapore this July, there was an email about sugar cane. I am not sure if it is a hoax. In Singapore and the main towns of Malaysia, people don't have the joy and privilege of biting into their own cane. They buy them unprocessed but juiced at the markets. The lengths of 6 feet sugar canes are crushed in a roller machine, and you can buy the juice neat as it, or diluted with crushed ice and ice cubes. We are told that this is very healthy and thirst quenching.

Here's the email, people were getting sick. They found that in these super clean Singapore markets, food stalls, in the evening, the cleaners would use very strong chemicals and detergents to clean the floor of these stalls. Apparently, they leave remnants of the chemicals. In the wee hours of the day, the sugar cane suppliers arrive with the sugar cane. The vendor stack the canes vertical on the floor as though they are growing. The porous nature of the sugar cane soaks in the detergent and it is this detergent that is making people sick.

Is this a hoax as with most emails? I didn't want to take chances. Fortunately, it was towards the end of my trip. I stopped ordering this wonderful juice.

I decided to post this old photo of me. I am done it before. The background has a clump of sugar cane plant. I was fourteen when this photo was taken.


betty-NZ said...

That's quite a lot of interesting information, Ann!

Thanks for thinking of me for your tag but I don't care to participate in tags.

Glennis said...

very interesting. I did actually buy some cane and try to eat it while in the Far North of Queensland Aus. but I couldn't bite it at all and even when chopped up I still couldn't get even the vaguest taste of sweetness. Maybe I was sold bad cane with no juice!

Ruth said...

You hardly look different than when you were 14! I like your description of treat time at home. Unprocessed sugar cane is healthy and I am not surprised you have no cavities. (Wish I could say the same about myself!)
Here is a post I did three years ago with a picture of my parents' house and the sugar cane fields in Mexico.