By Wesley and Ms. Laine
Sugar Cane is a tall grass. Reaching upwards of 8 feet, this towering plant has a yellowish-brown stalk and long, narrow green leaves. Native to the tropics, sugar cane was brought around the globe by European colonists during the 15th and 16th centuries. The crop was cultivated in areas with hot and humid climates such as India, the Caribbean and parts of the United States.
The cane is then run through dozens of machines where it is cut up, smashed, pulverized, strained, boiled, crystallized and spun. The result of all that work is raw sugar crystals. These light-brown crystals are sold to buyers or stored and shipped to sugar refineries where they are turned into tiny, white, spherical crystals you see sold in bags at the grocery store.
Cane sugar is a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are vegetables, fruits and grains. The human body breaks carbohydrates down into simple sugars. The body uses these simple sugars as fuel. Carbohydrates are the body’s favorite type of fuel, but you must eat a balanced diet to get all of the nutrients you need to have a happy, healthy body. So go ahead, eat that cookie! Just make sure to eat some broccoli too.
Sugar cane became a staple crop in the Southern United States by the late 1700s. Wealthy plantation owners relied on slave labor to grow and harvest sugar cane is large quantities. In modern times, growing and milling sugar cane is still an important part of the economy for southern states like Louisiana.
Milling sugar is a long, loud process. Sugar cane is harvested from the fields and loaded onto trucks. The trucks dump the cane on a big conveyor belt where it is brought into the sugar mill.