Food Culture, Ingredients

The Season for Sugar Cane is Here

Sugar Cane Season in Cuzco

Periodically the seasons change in Cuzco. You can mark them by the different fruit and produce that arrives in our city. The markets are filling right now with delicious sugar cane. It is its season and it is for sale in Cuzco.

I remember some years ago, when the imperial City did not yet have the population it has now. The majority of homes on the edges of town had fields near them where they cultivated their main foods: potatoes and corn. I remember well that when the season of sugar cane arrived, we would go to our neighbors’ fields to gather corn stalks we called cane. Since those fields had a lot of corn, the neighbors did not notice that we were sneaking some corn stalks. We would gather by a small huaca (a stone shrine of our ancestors) and begin to peel the stalks. That is the most difficult thing you have to do before you can enjoy the wonderful juice it contains.

Today you do not see many fields of growing food on the hillsides of our city. They are now filled with houses. If you wish to find fields you have to go some distance from the city. There you can still see corn and potatoes growing. As time passed we have gotten used to eating this delicious food only in its season when large quantities of sugar cane comes into the city.

May is when sugar cane arrives in Cuzco. One of the markets where you can see a lot of it is the Vino Canchón market. It is one of the main wholesale markets, as well as retail, and as a result it is a place where fresh produce arrives by the truckload. From there it is distributed to all the markets of the city.

A pile of Sugar Cane in the Street
A pile of Sugar Cane in the Street

Subsequently this fruit that we call sugar cane will be found for sale throughout the city. In English it may not be considered a fruit but we classify it that way. The vendors will prepare it and have it Reddy for you to enjoy. The hardest task they face is peeling back the cane’s tough outer surface. You can only peel it with very sharp knives. The vendors help us by performing all this work beforehand. They sell the cane in small bags of sliced and peeled cane that you can enjoy. These bags cost only one new sol.

Most sugar cane in Peru is grown on the coast. The climate there is good for its growth and development. Nevertheless, cane is also grown close to Cuzco. The flavor of this fruit is incredible. You bite into it and almost instantly you feel slide down your tongue a very sweet and enticing juice that will make you want more.

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