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Make cane syrup WITHOUT a press  RSS feed

 
David Good
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Hey permies!

We live in sugarcane country but weren't able to secure a press (they are EXPENSIVE), so last year my wife had the idea of cooking down the cane to release the sugar, rather than crushing it.

It worked!

Our photo essay on the topic ended up being the most popular post on my blog (I mean, c'mon! Why not one of my FOOD FOREST posts But I digress...) since it went up last November.

Here's that link:

http://www.floridasurvivalgardening.com/2013/11/how-to-make-cane-syrup-at-home-without.html

Since people kept hitting that post and expressing interest, this year I decided to record a short how-to video on making sugarcane without a sugarcane press. If you're in cane-growing territory or have added this amazing grass to your food forest, you should find this interesting:



Sugarcane really isn't that hard to grow. Like sorghum or sugar beets, it's a really good sugar source for small homesteads without mature maples. It doesn't need a swamp, either - we grow ours in regular garden soil without trouble. I may add some to the edge of a banana circle (oh yeah) this coming spring... but that's a topic for another day.

Enjoy - hope this video inspires someone.
 
jimmy gallop
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This last year when I was harvesting my sweet corn I was pulling every plant and taking the corn off it .
and cutting the stalks up about 2 to 4 inches long
I started chewing some of the stalks it was sweet as the corn . may try next year to see if it wont make sugar
 
David Good
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It might work - sorghum works and it's a close relative.
 
David Good
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Hey! This post just got an apple!

I can barely grow those down here. Maybe we should start awarding pineapples to Floridians.

Thank you.
 
Brett Andrzejewski
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I worked with the Louisiana sugar can industry for a while. It looks like you performed the operations similar to what we called a "cane diffuser" in the industry followed by syrup evaporation. Good stuff!
 
David Good
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@Brett

Very cool. Now I need to look that up. Thank you.

I was pretty frustrated in my various attempts to press cane in other ways. I was looking for low-tech methods that would work off-grid. The fibers are incredible, however. The torque/pressure required to smash the cane is nothing to sneeze at.

I still hold out hope that Herrick Kimball (creator of the Whizbang Chicken Plucker) is going to invent a simple cane press...
 
David Good
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Ah - I found one:



Looks like you could probably build one over a three-day weekend with cattle panels and PVC. Good family project.
 
Brett Andrzejewski
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I think you already built one [cane diffuser]! Yours is much more sustainable than the one in the video!
 
Thekla McDaniels
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HI sugar cane syrup folks! I don't live in sugar cane climate, but can grow sorghum, and corn and beets, so this is kind of interesting. I think anything that has a high enough sucrose content could be done this way, but I wanted to ask you: if you let the syrup boil too long, does get a burnt taste, before getting burnt (if it does), does it go through a caramel phase, or would you have to add butter to get caramel?

Also, what does cane syrup taste like? Sugar with a tiny bit of molasses? Maybe I'll look for some at the store just to find out!

If I grew some (non gmo) sugar beets, I could probably just grate them couldn't I? I know sugar beet sugar tastes different than cane sugar, but does it give some kind of molasses-y substance?


Thanks for the fun post.
Thekla

PS, If I had apples to hand out, I'd give you one!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Here I have seen presses that are like 2 rolls and they have to let the cane go through it 2 or 3 times, to get all the juice out.
I have tried it, and it looks and tastes like ... white sugar....
Does yours taste more like caramel or rapadura?

Can you make sorgum syrup as well?

I am sure that it can grow in the same place as bananas, they are big herbs both!
 
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