That's interesting about New Guinea. I had no idea it came from there. They grow tonnes of sugar cane up in Queensland. The farmers burn it all off each year before harvesting, which is amazing to see. Is that how they do it there?
Yes, it is very interesting to track back plants to where they originaly come from. Burning sugarcane before harvest is a way to clean it by getting rid of all the dead leaves otherwise you have to do it by hand and the leaves have sharps edges...
Excellent jjacques. Ive read that burning is a way of fixing potash in the soil as well as clearing land for a new crop. Primitive horticulture in the tropics almost always involves burning to clear new land.
What a transformation from the colorful tall canes to the granular white stuff we have in bags. If the canes are good for teeth, the powder surely isn't.
Yes, burning will add potash but sugarcane growers use loads of chemical fertilizers anyway...The sugar factories here only produce brown sugar which is then shipped to France and refined in order to produce this deadly white stuff while we use the good raw one (and the rhum of course, pretty deadly stuff!)
Sugar + alcohol = hyperactivity - brain activity. Rum leads to trouble more than any other grog. I didn't like serving it when I ran pubs.
I think they also burn the cane because its full of snakes, crocodiles, lost british tourists & things like that JJ. Gotta flush 'em out. The locals in towns & so on, hate it normally. A shop owner was complaining to me about it when I was up there last year. He said the whole town he was in gets covered in ash. It looks amazing when it all goes up though.
We've had Australians and New Zealanders here in Greensboro, Alabama. They seem to stick well to the beaten path. Haven't seen any strays around here. And the British that were here didn't want to get too far out into the sticks. Turned down a Blues Concert in a barn near here. They don't know what they are missing!
It would have been good. American blues in a barn. Is Alabama in the south?
I meant Australia wide about ppl getting lost. There are certain types of places like the outback where ppl feel a need to take risks. It mainly happens off the coast though. Fishermen, crazy yachtsmen, japanese snorkellers up along the barrier reef. I guess if he were here, Darwin would have something to say about it.
Very nice article JJ.
Last week or so you had an article about tropical fruits which made me miss Indonesia so much. I came from Indonesia and now living in US. The good things is in few days we are leaving for 5 weeks vacation there. So that I can eat all of those tropical fruits and spicy food. Yummy!
The sugar cane remind me my childhood time. We used to eat sugar cane, the sweetest part is the closest to the ground. We also has sugar can syrup for drink.
It also uses as medicine for fever. When we had fever My grandma used mix the syrup with a little bit of rice, keep it at room temperature overnight. Drink it, and sim salabim, fever is gone!
I am getting hungry thinking about the cajun food over Gloria's way & the Indonesian tucker waiting for you betra. Lakhsa is one of my all time favourites, plus I love gado gado too. I've had the sugar cane syrup you mention. They have the little machines you mean outside restaurants & make it fresh with young coconut meat. It doesn't get much better than that.
Ah ah, I can see sugar is a very attractive stuff even when only as pictures!
I remember when I visited Australia last December that folks would casually talk about a couple Japanese or British tourists getting lost in the outback and then simply drying to death. Was gald they don't (yet) sell dried out tourists in souvenir shops...We do get some sugarcane juice every once in a while as some people on the marketplace have this small crushing machine, but this is juice, the syrup is produced by cooking the juice and you don't want to drink it straight!
Gado gado! Nasi goreng! Satay! Kropok! You make me salivate!
Yeah, maple syrup! Something I know something about . . . Jean-Jacques, that was a very extremely interesting article, especially with Ian's comment about burns flushing out the British tourists! Thank you, and thank you all for a most interesting conversation.
This is something quite nice with those DG forums, we can have at the same time some informative stuff but keep also the humour running and to me humour is necessary to life, at least as much as sugar!
I remember maple syrup on pancakes in North-Western USA, a good way to start the day!
I was a tree-tapper when I was little. During Spring thaw a tree might fill up a gallon bucket so I had to get there and change the buckets twice a day. You put the sap in a huge galvanized horse tank suspended over a fire. Maple sugar forms in the bottom of the tank.
Wow, a gallon of sap! Didn't it exhaust the trees after a while? The closest I have seen in the South-West of France, in an area called the Landes where people grow pine trees and harvest the resin for the industry, they scarify the trunk and put a small bowl which they empty every once in a while. Wonderful smell but you would not put it on your pancakes!
CL. You must be kidding. Dumping buckets is not a tough job!!!
The sap doesn't taste like much until it is rendered down. The best part is the sugar in the bottom of the tank!
Did it exhaust the trees? Sugar maples back home (Northern Michigan) now are under severe stress and they are dying. The whole forest is dying. Not because of sugar production though. So far as I know dawing sap from the tree doesn't damage the tree. The sap spile is about 1/2 inch in diameter. the diameter of a mature sugar maple tree is 4 or 5 ft.
G.S. Maple syrup. You tap the trees just before sap begins to run in the spring. I think you have to be in a Northern area, our woods at home was in Zone 4b -- about the same as Ontario Canada. So when you tap the trees there will still be snow - so you need skiis or snowshoes to get there.
You drill just through the bark with a brace and bit and whack in the sap spiles which you buy commercially. The spile has a hook for hanging the bucket. Our buckets were 1 gallon canning tins with wire attached to hang over the spiles. Then you check daily. And be prepared to start rendering the sap into syrup. i.e. you need a large container (galvanized horse tank) that you can elevate over a fire which you keep going until the end of the season. Best to do this on site as its hard to manage that much liquid on skiis.
Here in Alabama they have sourhum and it doesn't taste exactly like maple syrup but it has a whole lot more flavor than white sugar. Im not sure how this is processed, but I would imagine much the same and Jean-Jacques has described in his article.
We have a family nearby who makes sorghum molasses (I'm in the South too) I haven't been out there in a few years, but you could buy it as it came off the cooker. I'll check it out and see if they still do it. Seems like it was early October when they cut the cane and pressed it. Would make a neat article too.
OK. That's something a lot pf ppl would want to know about. Different flavoured syrups from different trees. When & how. Processing methods & a nice flapjack recipe. I love maple syrup. I think everyone does.
There is a really popular drink here made from Sorghum, Melody. They call it milo. It tastes great too.
Hey! we could do a group article with recipes!!! or a group of articles. Melody would be great for sorghum and maybe more people would do it if they knew how. Only the old old farmers still make sorhum syrup here.
I got to see sorghum syrup being made at an agricultural museum here in southern California. It was really remarkable. The plants are juiced in a special juicer, and then the juice is cooked down in a metal trough over a wood fire. The syrup is then canned in jars. The people there said getting a juicer was the hard part, as most of them were melted down in WWII for the steel. The syrup is really tasty and close to molasses, but tastes more grassy. I like it on oatmeal. BTW, Wikipedia has a decent article on sorghum, though not much about its use for syrup. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_sorghum
I'm thinking about growing sorghum sometime. Sugarcane and sugar maples won't grow well in southern California. Does anyone know a source for the seeds that a gardener can buy?
That must be a good source because several of the varieties are out of stock already. It looks like a dual purpose plant that can be used to produce a lot of organic matter to improve soil, as well as syrup to sweeten up your life!
Well wellbut this sounds like a whole buncha sweet teeth we have here! I bet the juicer will be indeed the hard item to find but I think they build them in Brazil and it should not be too hard to set up, any handyman (or handywoman of course...)
Hi, All! Couldn't resist! I REALLY like sorghum on hot, buttered, home made biscuits! Yum, yum!
Wish I had some, now! The county over from where my kids live, Benton County, in Tn. is famous for its mild sorghum. You can go in the fall when they're making it and buy it. They'll even let you taste it!
Interesting sugar cane article--I didn't know there were different varieties. It brings back memories of my Grampa peeling sugar cane for us kids on his back porch in New Orleans.
I also have a light scar on my finger from peeling a piece I found on the street up by the cane fields on Oahu...I peeled my finger, too! (I chewed the cane before going to the emergency room, LOL).
There are indeed many different varieties but just like for apples and veggies they are progressively lost because commercial growers only use hybrids created by researchers. Good thing you only peeled your finger, during harvest time many a worker looses part of fingers if not a whole one...
Look on the bright side. Fingers don't have many calories.
I picked tobacco for a season once. A bloke was run over & killed by a tobacco machine when he left it to pick up a packet of cigarettes. I felt sorry for it but it was hard not to see the irony.
Fingers lickin' whole rice I assume on the menu...people in France all know about this story of a night watcher in a big winery who disappeared one night and was only discovered a few weeks later when the giant wine tank where he had drowned was emptied as it had been bottled...and guess what, we still drink wine and it sometimes has this strange indefinable taste...
I am yet to try fingers as far as I know Gloria, but liking pickles as I do one can't be sure. You do get the odd crunchy one. I guess if we knew half of what went on in restaurants & factories, we'd only eat our own cooking. It doesn't bare thinking about.
Never heard of Stakhanov either JJ, but he sounds too much like hard work for me.
yes. The explanation at the end says that he was a puffed up image to advance the cause.
And yes. I am learning, if you don't want to eat really really bad stuff you have to do your own cooking , and cook what you grow your self. If its in a box, or a can, or anything plastic it probably is not fit to eat.
I just looked up a list on webmd of the top ten healthy foods: beets, cabbage, guava, swiss chard, cinnamon, purslane, pomegranate (juice), goji berries, dried plums (prunes), and pumpkin seeds.
No sugar cane here in Kentucky...sometimes I wonder what my life would've been like if I'd stayed in New Orleans; until I see Katrina devastation on tv. Nope, never learned the French, but maybe I should try. It's in my blood.
My room mate in college at the University of Kentucky was from Louisiana. She was bilingual and was always cooking gumbo. I hope they are able to bring New Orleans back and to keep it safe. It really is one of the show cases of the United States. I know thousands will never be able to go back though.
Unbelievable that such a cultural icon would be disregarded like New Orleans apparently was, or still is. Sometimes I wonder how americans survive the blizzards, tornadoes & hurricanes you seem to be getting all the time. We just have the odd flood or bushfire here & lucky JJ, he only has a volcano to contend with. What could possibly go wrong?
Funny to see cultural difference between Europe and USA (or Australia for that matter). In French we have the adjective 'Stakhanovisme' and the word 'Stakhanoviste' which you both find in every dictionnary and everybody knows it means working like a donkey, with a propaganda taste to it. Well, Moscow is not that far from Paris...
We have an active volcano but it is a cool one, it only spurs liquid lava, no explosive erupting, and so far has done it on the right side of the island, ie the unihabited one...it belongs to the Hawaian type (does not mean it plays ukulele, just that it is not an Etna like)
Boy, amazing how a thread would go from rather innocent sugar to lava flows and gombo-fingers cooking!
You bet. I'd be stressing about tsunamis & live in a tree. They are funny though volcanoes. They perform a natural role but are as inorganic as you can get.
Very funny about the ukulele JJ btw. Do you think life could exist without volcanoes?
Ah well a large part of France (Auvergne, Puy de Dôme) is made of inactive volcanoes and they will remain so, folks don't fuss about it. Now of course volcanoes have been a number one actor on life and to start with Reunion would not be there if there was no volcanic activity, same for Mauritius, Hawai archipelago, Japan and so on...
A lot of nutrients & minerals wouldn't be in the system without them. Its hard to imagine getting used to living near a volcano though. Do you get tremors? We had one years ago. Scared the hell out of me.
we don't have volcanos but we do have earth quakes. Usually they are in California but this year we have had some here in the east. There was even one here in Alabama last week.
GS -- even if you lived in a tree you would not be safe. Or, especially if you lived in a tree you would not be safe. You would be Granville South in the land of the Wizard of Oz.
The tragedy of New Orleans was partly human error. The sea wall was not safe and it should have been. To me, it was as much of an assault on our population as the 9/11 attacks in New York City. I will never forget the people - Americans - stranded on roof tops in the flood and animals suddenly homeless and starving.
We very rarely get tremors but last year there was a major lava spur which ran all the way to the Ocean and kept going for days, the contact between sulphur from the lava and sea salt produced sulphuric acid which resulted in acid rains on the East coast, it burnt down plants and had people coughing a lot. Even on the West we had those weird yellowish fogs and the smell was...hellish.
I did read this book on a tribe of New-Guinea who live in trees, emergent trees over the jungle, say 30 to 40 meters high (90 to 120 feet!) they build cabins up there and the whole family live in the air, and they sure don't have harnesses and rappel ropes, pretty hairy I would say.
The New Orleans disaster struck us too as we also have hurricanes every year, some years they are mild and some they hit hard, so we know what it is about but it was worse than anything that ever took place here.
JJacques: I read your new article. It takes me home to my tree climbing days in the Northern Woods.
I learned how to climb a tree at first out of necessity: our old pig Elmer liked to chase me into the woods and the first tree to get out of his reach was a crab apple tree. Fortunately it had a low limb I could lean over and then get myself up out of his reach. What a stupid pig!
I looked up the location of Reunion Island. I posted the link in your new article.
I see this is an old thread but it was so interesting. I have a recipe for Lakhsa in a Pacific Rim cookbook. We had it at a Malaysian restaurant in Sydney, Australia and it was so good we went back the next day and had it again. They served it in huge bowls and one was a meal. You could specify what kind of meat or vegetables you wanted. It was delicious. If anyone wants the recipe , I'll dig it out.
You may be sorry you asked...It's long and complex. Some ingredients are almost impossible to find in the Midwest USA, but can be obtained on line.
4 -5 shallots, chopped
6 -7 garlic cloves, chopped
1 piece gingerroot, peeled and chopped (Thumb size)
1 red chile, fresh (more or less, depending to your taste)
1 tablespoon dried prawns or 1 tablespoon dried shrimp
1/2 cup water Prawn or Shrimp Flavoured Oil
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 raw green prawns or 12 green shrimp, shelled and deveined Laksa Broth
180 ml laksa paste
1 liter chicken stock or 1 liter vegetable stock
400 ml coconut cream
320 g fish balls (optional)
320 g fried tofu, puffs halved (fried tofu puffs)
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
salt, to taste
1 lime, juice of
60 g rice vermicelli
350 g egg noodles
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded (boiled-stock can be used for the broth!)
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1 spring onion, chopped
1 red chile, sliced
4 tablespoons coriander leaves
2 tablespoons deep fried shallots
fresh lime wedge
Shell prawns/shrimp and reserve prawn/shrimp in one bowl and heads and shells in a separate bowl. Set aside for later use.
Using a food processer, make 'Spice Paste' add shallots, garlic, ginger, chillies, dried prawns and water. Then blend until it forms a smooth paste. Set aside.
In a large pot, add vegetable oil and heat. Once the oil is hot add prawns/shrimp shells and fry for about one minute or until they turn red. Remove from pan and discard. This will add prawn/shrimp flavour to the oil.
To make the 'Laksa Broth' add 'Spice Paste' to prawn/shrimp flavoured oil and fry for a minute, then simmer for about two minutes. Pour in the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to boil,.
Then add coconut cream, fish balls, fried tofu, sugar, fish sauce, salt and freshly squeezed lime juice. Bring to boil.
Half fill a medium pot with water and bring to boil. Add rice vermicelli for a few minutes until they become soft then remove into separate serving bowls.
Add egg noodles in boiling water for five minutes or until soft and transfer into the same bowls as rice vermicelli
In the same pot, poach reserved prawn/shrimp meat until it's pink then transfer them into the same bowl as the rice vermicelli and egg noodles.
Pour 'Laksa Broth' into the serving bowls (same bowls as the prawns/shrimp and noodles).
Then top with shredded chicken, bean sprouts, spring onions, chili, coriander, fried shallots and serve with lime wedges.
Woh, this is quite a recipe indeed! I probably can get most ingredients here on the island with all the Indian shops but not sure I will go through the whole process, this is cooking for serious cooks!