How to Harvest & Process Sugar Cane

Overview

Sugarcane production is a major commercial industry, providing the crystals used for making granulated sugar. Home production of sugarcane usually consists of planting the chewing or syrup types of sugarcane rather than the crystal canes of commercial production. Sugarcane is sometimes grown as a hobby crop in the Southeastern United States.

Step 1

Cut mature sugarcane stalks (those planted the previous year) with a sharp knife or lopping shears as close to the ground as possible. University of Florida extension says the highest concentration of sugar is located in the bottom portion of the sugarcane stalk.

Step 2

Trim the green upper part of the sugarcane stalk. The upper portion lacks sugar accumulation.

Step 3

Squeeze or crush the harvested stalks to collect the juice if you have access to a traditional sugarcane press. Traditional home vegetable juicers generally aren't powerful enough to handle sugarcane easily and you'll risk damaging your machine unless it specifically mentions it is suitable. Commercial quality sugarcane juice presses or mills exist, but difficult to justify economically for the backyard grower.

Step 4

Cut the stems into small pieces if chewing the sugarcane is preferred. Store cut pieces in resealable bags and keep refrigerated.

Things You'll Need

  • Mature sugarcane
  • Sharp knife or loppers
  • Sugarcane press or other extractor

References

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Backyard Sugarcane

Who Can Help

  • USDA Cooperative Extension System Offices
Keywords: sugarcane harvest, process sugarcane, harvesting sugarcane

About this Author

Marie Roberts is a freelance writer based in north central Florida. She has a B.S. in horticultural sciences from the University of Florida. Roberts began writing in 2002 and is published in the "Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society."