Sugar cane is a member of the grass family. A cane of sugar is 90 per cent water and 10 per cent sucrose. It takes seven tons of cane to make one ton of sugar. In early plantation days, huge machines were built to feed the long canes through, pressing out the liquid. The water was heated until it evaporated, leaving a thick syrup. Sugar cane mills are expensive to build and antique mills are difficult to find. Turning an antique wringer washing machine into a sugar cane press is a doable project. No changes need to be made to the washer. Just remove any rust and disinfect the wringers and tub.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Washing machine with a ringer arm
- 1 cup bleach
- 3 cups vinegar
- Sharp slicing knife
- Rubber mallet
Clean an old wringer washing machine with one cup of bleach to a full washer of clean water. Let the machine go through the wash cycle and drain the bleach water.
Rinse the bleach from the machine with a full tub of water and three cups of white vinegar. Allow the machine to go through the rinse cycle and drain.
Cut the sugar cane into manageable lengths of three to six feet long. Stand the cane on a solid surface while you slice through the outer protective layer of the cane and discard the woody pieces or save them to burn as fuel.
Beat the end of the sugar cane with the mallet until it lies flat, then turn on the washer and feed the flattened end of the cane through the wringer arm of the washer. Be sure the arm is positioned over the tub of the washer to catch the juice from the sugar cane.
Continue to beat one end of the cane to flatten it enough to feed through the wringer arm. After all the pieces of cane have been fed through the wringer, scoop the juice out with a dipper.
Tips and warnings
- Place a clean washtub or other large bowl inside the washing machine to catch the cane juice.
- Wear gloves to protect your hands from tiny cuts and stains .
- Any machine with large rollers can function as a sugar cane press.
- Slicing through the outer layer of sugar cane can be dangerous for anyone who is not used to using a very sharp slicing knife.
- Preparing the cane to be juiced is hard physical labour that requires upper body strength.
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