How sugar is made

This is sugar cane growing in a field.  The sugar is in the thick stalks.

It is cut down and the fluffy tops and green leaves are cut off.  The stalks are crushed and the sugary juice is squeezed out and collected. 

A big pit is dug and a HUGE pan is placed over the hole.  The juice goes into the pan and a fire is started under the pan.   

The juice boils so the water is evaporated, leaving a sticky goo behind.  Do you think it is a good idea to let a three-year-old stir a big pan of boiling sugar???

When all the water has been boiled away, the sugar is formed into yellowish balls about the size and colour of a grapefruit and sold in the markets.  It is used in cooking to make cakes and puddings.  It is not like the fine white crystals of sugar we get in packets here, but it tastes just as good!  The photo below shows the crushed stalks when all the sugary juice has been removed.  But the stalks are not wasted!  They are used as fuel to keep the fire going to boil the sugar.

The whole family lives in this hut for the 3 or 4 weeks it takes to harvest and boil all of the sugar cane in their field.  

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