Cane Syrup

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

cane syrup is made by peeling and mashing sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum), then reducing its juices to produce a toasty, caramelized syrup with slightly bitter notes. Though it is common worldwide wherever the perennial grass grows in tropical and subtropical climates, cane syrup was once particularly loved in the American South—a place where weather demanded an early harvest. Unripe cane would not yield a large quantity of refined sugar—the important commodity—but it was suitable for cane syrup production. On small southern farms cane syrup became a common sweetener, requiring little equipment to make. Cajun Louisianans used the syrup in gâteau de sirop (spice cake) and pain perdu (French toast), or as “syrup soppin,” drizzled on a plate at the end of a meal and eaten with bread.