The wheelbarrows are back, pushed by young men and full of short purple stems of Saccharum officinarum. I’m buying. I’m halving the trauma of peeling sugar cane by having them skinned and cut into segments on the streets.
The Mallam uses transparent cellophane bags as gloves – his aim is to touch no part of the cane with bare hands. Right-handed, he slips one on to his left hand and gloved, holds the cane steady while he wields a sharp knife, peeling with his right.
With down strokes, he peels the lower half of the 3, 4-segment stem, about forty centimetres long. When he’s done, he makes a T with the cane by striking hard so the centre of the blade is a centimetre deep into the cleaned head which and then he flips it over so the clean. He holds the bagend-over-peeled-cane and repeats the peeling till the strip is clean. And then into a clean bag he cuts cane into segments – juicy stem and hardy joint. They all go in till the five ‘stems’ I purchase are all clean, cut.
I get home with two little black paper bags full of sugar cane. They go into the fridge till I’m ready to use them, when I wash them, cut in half length ways and juice.
The juicer makes light work of getting the sweet, sweet juice out. Considering where I started from – with my pasta roller – this is awesome.
The combination is a no-brainer. I’m still on a cucumber high…and so I involve the base of cucumber, mint and lime.
I combine that with the sweet of sugar cane, the cool of ice, a splash of vodka, cucumber swizzle stick and a slice of lime. And then I’m done. Ready to sip of its refreshing goodness.
It is a beautiful mix – sweet, cool, clean, boozy and perfect for a Friday Cocktail.