In India, the sugar-cane is a Kharif, or autumn, crop. In many parts of India, we can see at that season large fields of sugarcane ready for cutting. The sugar-cane is a tall plant with a long thick stem and long green leaves at the top. It is the stem or cane” that contains the sweet juice, from which sugar is made.
Some of the canes are sold in the bazaar, cut up into lengths about an inch long (called ghanderies), and are chewed raw as a slice of sweetmeat for the sake of the sweet juice. We can see the fruit-sellers squatting on their stalls, cutting up the yellow canes with curiously shaped scissors, and the boys buying handfuls and sucking the sweet bits.
But most of canes go to the sugar-mills to make sugar. There they are first crushed in heavy presses or under rollers, which squeeze out the sap or juice. The juice is then treated with chemicals, and heated in shallow pans until all the water goes off in vapour, leaving behind the sugar. This is further treated, and part of it becomes the white sugar crystals, and part thick brown molasses or treacle.
India is the home of the sugar-cane, and yet the Indian way of making sugar is very old-fashioned, and also the sugar-canes grown here are a poor kind.