What is sugarcane good for? This cultivated grass is most often grown on a commercial scale, but you can grow it in your garden too. Enjoy a pretty, decorative grass, a natural screen and privacy border, and the sweet juice and fiber that you can get when you harvest the cane in the fall.
Is Sugarcane Good for You?
Sugar gets a bad rap these days, and certainly there is such a thing as too much sugar. However, if you are interested in more natural, unprocessed sugar to supplement a healthy diet, why not grow your own sugarcane.
The types of sugarcane most useful in home gardens are syrup and chewing canes. Syrup sugarcane can be processed to make syrup, as it doesn’t crystallize easily. Chewing canes have a soft, fibrous center that you can simply peel and eat or enjoy in recipes.
One of the potential health benefits of sugarcane is actually weight management. Researchers are currently studying the possibility that eating sugarcane fiber can help people maintain a healthy weight, lose weight, and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. This may work because fiber tends to offset the detrimental health effects of sugar, including slowing the rise in blood glucose you experience after eating sugar.
Other health benefits of sugarcane include getting more nutrients than you would with processed sugar. Unprocessed sugarcane has plant polyphenols, antioxidants, protein, manganese, iron, calcium, potassium, and B vitamins. Sugarcane may be useful in reducing skin inflammation, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and improving bad breath.
How to Use Sugarcane
In order to get sugarcane benefits, you will need to harvest and enjoy the canes from your garden. It isn’t difficult to do; simply cut the cane back at the base and peel away the outer layer. The interior is edible and contains sugar, fiber, and other nutrients.
You can press it to make a sugarcane juice, which you can add to anything, or you can simply chew on the interior of the cane. Chop up the cane into sticks to use for food skewers or drink stirrers and sweeteners. You can even ferment the cane to make rum.
Sugar should always be limited in the diet, but forgoing processed sugar for natural cane from your own garden is a great option.