Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sun Evaporated Sugar.

How would it feel to use locotarian, organic, sustainably grown, free from processing, free from added chemicals,  nutritious and wholesome sugar. Hard to believe such a thing exists! especially when it concerns sugar which has now earned the moniker - white poison.

Well, we we just managed to make such a batch of sugar right at our home. All it required was patience.

This April we harvested a small crop of sugarcane, organically grown in our backyard. It turns out, sugarcane is quite un-fussy and easy to grow. It just needs a lot of water and manuring. After eating some, giving it to friends and keeping aside a small portion for the next round of crops we managed to get  2.5 liters of Sugarcane juice.

We planned to make sugar out of this juice and employed mother nature to do all the hardwork. We spread the juice over 3 large tarts and started to evaporate it under the harsh April and May summer sun of Goa (Surprisingly this summer has been much pleasant than last year- or perhaps our plants have grown bigger) .

After 15 days of evaporation, during which the liquid had to be protected from ants, bees, birds and other sugar deprived creatures, the colour slowly turned reddish-golden from the original olive green. The volume had substantially reduced and the entire juice now could be accomodated in a single tart.
Another 15 days of drying and the rate of evaporation had substantially reduced. The liquid had become so viscous that I could hold the tart vertical without actually spilling the juice. It can perhaps be called molasses at this stage.

Another seven days of drying I realised that there was no reduction in the volume of liquid- The sun had  finally given up.
I tasted some of our lovely sweet nectar and it tasted great. It initially tasted like dark jaggery and has an after taste of honey and the flavour lingers for quite sometime.
Sugarcane juice is very nutritious but the process of manufacturing sugar and jaggery robs all its nutrients making it a junk and harmful product. Considering the temperature may never have crossed more than 40 degrees during the making of this sugar, I believe it retains most of sugarcane's nutrition (the inevitable loss due to degradation by time is always there). What more could I ask for.

 We gently poured and bottled the liquid sugar and managed to get about 250 ml of sugar. (Ah! I lost about 300 ml of sugar, when a naughty bird toppled one of my tarts). All said and done this should last us for 8 to 9 months (Nope! our sugar consumption is not low, its quite normal. Anything more than this is excess sugar in your life.)

Meanwhile the next batch of sugarcane has sprouted this time all going well- expecting a larger batch of the golden syrup.

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