Sugarcane juice is the juice extracted from pressed sugarcane. It is consumed as a beverage in many places, especially where sugarcane is commercially grown such as Southeast Asia, South Asia, Latin America and Brazil.
The juice is obtained by crushing peeled sugar cane in a mill. It can be a hand cranked machine, or powered. It is served, often cold, and sometimes with other ingredients such as a squeeze of lemon or lime (in Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, India), pineapple (Brazil), passionfruit, ginger (India, Zanzibar) or ice. In India it can be served with black salt or mint.
Sugarcane juice is especially popular among the Cuban expatriate community in Miami, where it is found in abundance at many locations in Little Havana. It is the national drink of Pakistan, where it is called "roh" and sold fresh by roadside vendors only. It is one of the most widely consumed drinks in India, especially in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pardesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pardesh. In Egypt, sugar cane juice is a popular drink served by almost all fruit juice vendors, who can be found abundantly in most cities. In Indonesia and Malaysia, sugar cane juice is sold nationwide especially among street vendors. It is bottled for local distribution in some regions and sold at food courts daily. In Singapore, it is sold in food courts only.
Health risk in rural areas
In rural areas, raw sugar cane juice can be a health risk to drinkers, mostly because of the unhygienic conditions under which it is prepared. Since it is very sugary, it is an ideal culture medium for all kinds of microorganisms, so it should not be stored outside a refrigerator. It is almost always consumed as a freshly prepared drink. Pasteurization is required if the juice is to be bottled and sold as such, and a date of validity should be stamped on the container.
Garapa has been involved in a widely publicized episode in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, when at least 49 tourists were infected with Chagas disease by drinking garapa most likely produced at roadside stalls. The sugar cane used for it most probably was contaminated with feces of the insect vector, a Reduviid.
Evaporated cane juice
Evaporated cane juice is a loosely defined term which can include combinations of sugars including glucose, and fructose. It is less processed than bleached white sugar.[dead link] Nutritional benefits are minimal; evaporated cane juice contains trace minerals and vitamins but has the same amount of calories as table sugar. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines evaporated cane juice as any sweetener derived from sugar cane syrup.
Sugar cane juice is a popular drink in India especially in states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. It is known as "oosacha ras" or "ganne ka ras" in Maharashtra in Marathi and Hindi accordingly ('ras' translates to 'juice', whereas the former in both terms, 'oos' and 'ganna' translate to 'sugar cane'. It is called roh in eastern Punjab. People usually like this drink in the summer months. Some other additives are added to the fresh juice like lemon,ginger, mint, and ice. "Oosacha ras" vendors are commonplace all year round in the city of Mumbai, Maharashtra. People can find this drink along the roadsides in Punjab from mid-March to late October. Most of the vendors prepare fresh juice quickly on demand. Sugar is valued highly by common people.
Sugar cane juice is the national drink of Pakistan, where it is called roh and more commonly referred to as "gunney ka rus". It is sold by roadside vendors, where the juice is squeezed fresh when ordered. It is sold in glasses with or without ice. Very often a hint of ginger and lemon is added, along with optional salt or pepper.
East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar
In Zanzibar street vendors crush sugar cane with small amounts of fresh ginger.
Sugar cane juice, called nước mía, is very popular in Vietnam as a refreshing drink in the hot climate. Kumquat juice, a citrus, is often added to balance the sweetness. It is available at numerous small street stalls and is often sold alongside other popular Asian beverages. It was common for sugar cane juice to be sold in small plastic bags filled with ice, with the open end attached around a drinking straw by a rubber band. It is now more commonly sold in disposable plastic cups.
In Brazil, sugar cane juice is called caldo de cana or garapa and is consumed fresh squeezed with ice cubes. Sometimes it can be combined with lime or pineapple juice. Cane juice is distilled into cachaça, the Brazilian national liquor.
The origin of the word is unclear. There are two hypotheses:
- African origin, it means "fermented drink" in West Africa and was brought into Brazil and the rest of Latin America by slaves from Cabo Verde islands, then to the Madeira islands.
- Tupi origin, from guarab, meaning a fermented drink laced with honey.
In Brazilian Portuguese, garapa is also used figuratively as meaning a good thing, easy to get. Garapa doida (crazy garapa) is also the name given to cachaça in the Amazon region.
In Paraguay, guaripola or simply guari is reserved for the alcoholic beverage, and mosto for the fresh, non-fermented sugar cane juice. As a further differentiation, retailers use mosto helado (ice-cold mosto) to refer to the non-industrial, ready-to-drink, roadside, or bar variety.
In Egypt, sugar cane juice is called aseer asab (Egyptian Arabic: [ʕɑˈsˤiːr ˈʔɑsˤɑb] عصير قصب) and is by far the most popular drink served by almost all fruit juice vendors, who are abundant in most cities.
In Cambodia, it is very popular in the summer.
Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore
In Indonesia and in Malaysia also, sugar cane juice is called air tebu. In Bahasa Melayu, "tebu" is sugar cane and "air" is water. It is sold throughout the nation especially among street vendors. It is also bottled for local distribution in some regions and sold at food courts daily. In Singapore, food courts sell sugar cane juice but not on streets. Both countries use electronic pressers as it is easier and faster. The Chinese community in three countries prefers to call sugar cane juice "Gam Jia Zui" which means "Sugar Cane Water" in the Chinese dialect of Hokkien.
- "The World's Healthiest Foods". The George Mateljan Foundation. 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- Is "Evaporated Cane Juice" Any Better Than Sugar? Health & Fitness, 2009
- "Guidance for Industry: Ingredients Declared as Evaporated Cane Juice; Draft Guidance". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2010.
- "Sweetest at the throat". March 30, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- "Nuoc mia, or sugar-cane juice". November 6, 2008. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- "Flavors of Brazil: Caldo de Cana - Brazil's Liquid-Sugar Drink". Flavorsofbrazil.blogspot.com. 2010-09-28. Retrieved 2013-12-06.