How to Eat a Sugar Cane

Three Methods:Choosing Sugar CaneCutting Sugar CaneEating Sugar Cane

Sugar cane is the major source of sucrose used in the production of sugar. You can buy sugar cane in its raw stalk form from many grocery stores and chew on the sweet fiber of the plant. Learn how to properly prepare and eat this unique product for maximum enjoyment.

Method 1
Choosing Sugar Cane

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    Look for the cane in the grocery store. Look for raw sugar cane in many grocery stores. Find the raw stalks in the produce section.
    • Check Latin grocery stores, farmers markets, or any other place that sells fresh produce.[1]
    • Find sugar cane more commonly in areas known to grow it, which are typically temperate in climate. In the United States, this includes Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Texas.[2]
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    Identify the sugar cane. Look for the long stalks of raw sugar cane. The product that appears in stores is a leafless and hard stalk, typically cut to under a couple feet long.
    • Many people often recognize sugar cane for its resemblance to bamboo, with jointed, green to brown stalks.
    • Expect the sugar cane to be one to two inches thick, with a hard exterior.[3]
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    Choose a healthy and flavorful stalk. Look for the best quality in a sugar cane by examining the color, weight, and moisture of the stalk and inner flesh. Find the best stalk of what’s available for the best taste.
    • Choose stalks that are light green fading to yellow, with reddish-brown patches. Avoid ones that are white, cracked, or blackened in some areas.
    • Pick up stalks in your hand to feel the weight. Favor thinner, heavier stalks over thicker, lighter ones for more moisture. Also choose a stalk with longer jointed sections for easier cutting and eating.
    • Ask a produce clerk to make a cut at either end of a stalk for you. Pick one that has off-white, moist, opaque flesh inside. Avoid dry flesh that is brown or red in color.[4]

Method 2
Cutting Sugar Cane

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    Cut a small part off from each end. Use a sharp knife and cutting board to remove a section of at least an inch from each end of the stalk. This will remove the dried-out portions from older cuts.
    • You may need to score the tough outer edge of the stalk by cutting or gently sawing a few millimeters in all the way around the stalk, then breaking it along the scoring, rather than trying to chop all the way through.[5]
    • You may need to cut more from each end if the ends have become very hard and dried and you cannot access the juicier flesh.
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    Cut the cane into sections. Divide a long stalk into several smaller pieces that are easier to work with. Score and break or chop through the stalk to make pieces of about six inches.
    • It will be easiest to cut through sections of the stalk in between the thicker joints. Keep in mind, however, that the sections between the joints will also be the easiest to chew or use for other purposes, so it’s best to keep them intact.
    • You can also cut the stalk lengthwise into two, four, or more thinner sticks for consumption. Do this before cutting off the outer layer, or afterwards if it’s easier to do so.
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    Cut off the outer layer. Stand a piece of the cane on its end and cut downward to remove the outermost layer of the stalk. This eliminates the hard, green “bark” that cannot be chewed.
    • Cut in about a millimeter from the edge, or wherever you see that the tougher green bark is distinguished from the inner white flesh.
    • You may be able to peel the outer layer down and off the stalk with your fingers after making an initial cut, depending on how easily your cane’s bark separates from the flesh.

Method 3
Eating Sugar Cane

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    Chew the fiber to extract sweetness. Stick a small piece of the peeled sugar cane into your mouth to chew. Biting the fibrous inner flesh, called bagasse, will release the sweet flavor.[6]
    • You can also try squeezing or muddling the stalk to release the sweet juice of the plant, but it may be difficult to do so, or to collect the resulting juice for consumption.[7]
    • Once you have chewed the fibrous material and extracted all of its sweetness, spit it out and dispose of it.
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    Use the cane as a skewer. Try using a thin section of the peeled stalk as a skewer for fruits, meats, etc. This can impart the sweet flavor of the sugar cane into other foods.
    • Cut sugar cane pieces into thin sticks with a sharp point on one or both ends for optimal use as a skewer. You can leave the bark on for greater strength when skewering tougher foods.
    • Use skewers for dessert items, like fruit kebabs or to dip strawberries in chocolate. Or freeze the skewers to more easily stick them into fish and meats for cooking or grilling the sweet flavor into proteins.[8]
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    Try the cane as a swizzle stick. Use the peeled sugar cane as a swizzle stick in any sort of beverage. This can give alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages a natural sweetness.
    • Try dropping a stick into unsweetened tea. You can leave it in hot or iced tea for a few minutes to extract the sweetness, or just enjoy the gradual sweetening of the stick stirred in over time.
    • Use a sugar cane swizzle stick in a rum-based cocktail like a mojito or planter’s punch for a gentle sweetener.[9]


  • Wash the cane before you eat it to remove any possible dirt or contaminants.
  • Don't swallow the fibers if chewing on the sugar cane. Spit it out once it no longer has sweetness.
  • If you’re a kid, always ask for assistance from an adult when using a knife.

Things You'll Need

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Sugar cane stalk

Article Info

Categories: Eating Techniques