We experienced sweetness while eating the stems of sugarcane, roots of sugar beet, fruits of apple and while drinking palmyra sap. This is due to the different proportions of sugars found in it. Sugar is the generic name for sweet tasting soluble carbohydrate, which are used in foods and beverages. Sugars found in sugarcane and Palmyra make them ideal for efficient extraction to make commercial sugar.
Botanical name : Saccharum officinarum
Family : Poaceae
The cultivated Saccharum officinarum has evolved by repeated back crossing of S.officinarum of New Guinea with wild S.spontaneum of India to improve the quality. All districts except Kanyakumari and Nilgiris of Tamil Nadu cultivate Sugarcane.
Sugar cane is the raw material for extracting white sugar. Sugarcane supports large number of industries like sugar mills producing refined sugars, distilleries producing liquor grade ethanol and millions of jaggery manufacturing units. Fresh sugarcane juice is a refreshing drink. Molasses is the raw material for the production of ethyl alcohol.
Botanical name : Stevia rebaudiana
Stevia is a sweetener and a sugar substitute, extracted from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana. It has no calories and is 200 times sweeter than sugar. The Steveocide is the chemical that is responsible for sweetness in Stevia.
Stevia is a native to Brazil and Paraguay. It is cultivated in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
This is the most popular natural sweetener and is a substitute for white sugar, hence it is extensively used by diabetic patients and health conscious people.
Botanical name : Borassus flabellifer
Palmyra is native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia and New Guinea. Palmyra grows all over Tamil Nadu, especially in coastal districts.
Exudate from inflorescence axis is collected for preparing palm sugar. Inflorescence is tapped for its sap which is used as health drink. Sap is processed to get palm jaggery or fermented to give toddy.
Endosperm is used as a refreshing summer food. Germinated seeds have an elongated embryo surrounded by fleshy scale leaf which is edible.