Saccharum officinarum commonly known as sugar cane or cannamele, is a tropical plant, native to the Indomalese regions, belonging to the Poaceae family (Graminaceae). It can be used as an immediate food, extracting the juice through squeezing, or in the production of the most common sweetener: sugar.
Saccharum officinarum is a perennial tropical plant, with a bushy habit, which reaches an average of 4-5 meters in height, even if some species exceed 6 meters. The plant has a hard and angular rhizome, from which numerous woody stems interspersed with nodes emerge. Rather than stems, in sugar cane we speak of culms, typically hollow, comparable to those of bamboo: each plant consists of a main stem branched into numerous aerial culms.
The culm has a diameter ranging from 3 to 5 centimeters, capable of reaching – or exceeding – even 10 kilos in weight. The color, which varies according to the species and variety, can be yellow, purplish, green or reddish. The stems are covered with very long and green leaves, lanceolate and stuck on knots with a sheath that wraps the culm. The flowers, very similar to those of oats and wheat, are gathered in inflorescences called panicles, which can also reach quite substantial dimensions (90 cm). Sugar is obtained from a syrupy fluid present inside the stem.
Sugar cane is a perennial tropical plant that needs a humid and warm climate, has a bushy habit and reaches an average of 4-5 meters in height, although some species exceed 6 meters. Sugar accumulates in the pith that fills the stem called the typically hollow stalk, comparable to that of bamboo: each plant consists of a main stem branched into numerous aerial stalks. The culm has a diameter ranging from 3 to 5 centimeters, capable of reaching and even exceeding 10 kilos in weight. The stems are covered with very long and green leaves, lanceolate and stuck on knots with a sheath that wraps the culm. The flowers, very similar to those of oats and wheat, are gathered in inflorescences called panicles, which can even reach quite substantial dimensions (90 cm). Sugar is obtained from a syrupy fluid present inside the stem.
Upon reaching maturity, the sugar cane plant is cut and broken into small fragments; then, everything is squeezed to extract the so-called light sauce, a very sweet juice.
The fibrous and woody part is set aside and destined to be transformed into an energy source; the juice is carefully filtered after being purified with milk of lime.
By evaporation, the aqueous part is eliminated: thus a concentrated juice remains, subsequently centrifuged to obtain, as the final product, molasses.
Raw cane sugar contains 2% impurities, while refined sugar, therefore subjected to further purification, is comparable to classic, cooking sugar.
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