Monday, September 6, 2010

Sugar Cane in the Garden, but not How you Think

Sugar Cane 4 ft $2.99 @ the supermarket. I was curious so I bought one.

This was a learning experience for me. I was determined to use all parts of the sugar cane for something, don't know what.

I pulled out my Breville Juicer, thinking I can get this thing juiced in no time.

Well first I had to peel the sugarcane. Then I realized I had to chop the sugarcane into 1 inch chunks. The problem with the juicer is that the fibers clogged up the little grater holes:

So every few seconds,I had to open up the machine, scrape out the fibers, turn the thing on, repeat. Did you notice the fibrous leftovers? It is so pretty! The texture kind of reminds me of coconut coir. I bet I can use this as some type of soil amendment. I will try rooting some cuttings in it. 

From that one stalk I juiced about 3 cups, which had to be watered down because it's very sweet. Poured over ice, it was very refreshing! In vietnam, vendors would often add tangerine peel to add depth to the flavor.

And here is my "harvest" of natural materials to be used in the garden. The tough internodes between the stalks, I will pot up and see if I can't get new sugarcane. (They look like bamboo in the garden). I can only imagine what fresh home grown sugarcane tastes like. I believe they are semi frost tender, but I"m willing to give it a try. The fibrous frass will be used to start seeds or root some cuttings. And the peeled bark?

This is what I ended doing with the bark. I love the green color.  I have seen wooden labels sold, so my reasoning is that the bark is more rot resistant than inner wood so this might work even better. Saved myself $5 for unattractive plastic labels, which I've been searching for.

It took me 45 minutes to get that one stalk juiced. Next time I will use my high speed blender instead (hopefully there IS a next time). My H commented that I could just pay $5 for a big cup of sugar cane drink at the store and save all that time and energy.....but there is a problem with simplifying every experience down to a dollar amount. These are the things I gained from this experience:

sugar cane juice $5
plant labels $5 
sugar cane fiber $??
new sugar cane starts: $???
hand eye coordination (from chopping!): priceless
the feeling of discovery: priceless

See, I came away with way more than just a cup of juice!

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