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Topic: The Sugar Cane Barrel
Replies: 5   Last Post: Jun 13, 2019 9:00 AM by: Salty55
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The Sugar Cane Barrel

[7]
Posted: Jun 12, 2019 8:57 PM
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In the 1920's, 1930's and until I left my home town for the Univ. of Florida, the sugar cane barrel was a fixture at the entrance of every grocery store during the fall. In the downtown area was a lot with several large pecan trees. Under one of the pecan trees were several old benches that had been there for years and they had the appearance of age. This was a favorite spot for some of the retired and unemployed men to gather and pass the time of day

Most farms in the area had a one to two acre cane patch and when the cane was ready for harvest, out came the barrels at he stores and they were always well stocked. Money was scarce but the men could always find a dime to purchase a stalk of cane. A dime was big money to some of those men so selecting a stalk of cane was akin to purchasing a new horse collar. Of course they wanted a long stalk with a degree of maturity that expended far up the stalk. The greater distance between nodes meant more good chewing.

Every man had a Barlow knife and he didn't leave home until that knife was as sharp as a razor. The sweetest part of the cane was always down at the bottom of the stalk and that is where it all began. The sharp knife was placed near one of the nodes and the stalk was slowly turned until the section was cut off. The next step was to remove the outer portion. Depending on how large a "chew" the men wanted, it was now cut into about 3/4" to 1" plugs and the plug split into four pieces. Now it was time to toss it in the mouth and chew until all the cane juice was extracted. When there was no more juice, the remained was spit out, all men contributing to the discarded pile.

This process was repeated until all edible portions of the stalk had been "chewed". This was a daily ritual that did not end until the cane was no longer available. After a few days the pile of chewed portions was becoming larger and larger. The aroma from that pile of chewings was an invitation to yellow jackets and they descended on that pile as if it was one of my PUD cakes. I don't know if any of the men were stung by the yellow jackets but if they were, it didn't interfere with their daily ritual. When there was no more cane available, some of us younger kids would go by where the men had been chewing cane and were amazed at the size of that "chewings" pile.

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Re: The Sugar Cane Barrel

[1]
Posted: Jun 12, 2019 9:34 PM
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Thanks for sharing Joe! Love hearing these tales from yesteryear. My Dad was born in 1923 (now Deceased) and I really miss hearing about events that occurred in his life several decades ago. Thanks again and keep em coming!


Re: The Sugar Cane Barrel

[2]
Posted: Jun 12, 2019 10:58 PM
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I did the same thing but decades later. We didn't have a barrel but chewed pulp was scattered about the backyard. Mine did not cost 10 cents but 35 cents was more like it. Those were the days.

2019 purple level member


Being born in Charleston . . . but raised in Sumter . . .

[1]
Posted: Jun 13, 2019 12:45 AM
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Several times during the fall as baseball season was wrapping up . . . Dad would bring home a 3 node stalk of cane from one of his customers in the Manning area . . . He was always the one to cut it and "divy" it out . . . We were in "hog heaven" when we were chewing and savoring its sweetness!!! We kids were "chawing" those fibers as if we had a plug of "bacca"!!! But never would we spit that goodness!!!

Thanks for the reminder and a vicarious trip down memory lane!!!

2019 white level member

Re: The Sugar Cane Barrel

[3]
Posted: Jun 13, 2019 8:55 AM
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Chewing cane was part of our heritage. We cooked syrup for quite a few people in our community until I was about ten years old. My job was feeding the mill and after a day I was a sticky mess. We took 1 gallon of syrup from every round that was cooked for our pay. You started with 60 gallons of juice and cooked it down to 6 gallons of syrup. Some of the wimmens took the skimmings and made some home brew from them. I tell you there is nothing better than a hot biscuit, cane syrup and some home cured country ham. For those of you that miss good cane syrup you can get it delivered to your door from Winters pure cane syrup.

2019 purple level member


Sugar cane...

[2]
Posted: Jun 13, 2019 9:00 AM
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The original floss! ;)


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