Yet again I'm talking about a product distributed by the Goya company, based out of Secaucus, NJ. I've discussed this company's wares before, such as in my posts about pigeon peas (February 10, 2018), Spanish cookies (January 6, 2018), and Brazilian cookies (May 25, 2016). What makes this one a bit different is that the food or beverage isn't from a Latin American country, but Thailand instead.
Sugarcane juice is a syrup derived from pressing sugarcane stalks. If there are any strict constructionists concerning culinary terms reading this (and I hope there are), I should point out that "juice" is not technically accurate, since it's not a fruit or vegetable juice. Sugarcane juice is a popular beverage worldwide, essentially everywhere but the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia. This liquid is also the precursor to making the alcoholic drink rum. Staying on alcohol, in Madagascar they make a fermented sugarcane juice drink, called betsa-betsa, as a cheaper alternative to beer. And in Vietnam, kumquat juice (see December 24, 2012 post) is commonly added to improve the flavor.
Looking up "health benefits of sugarcane juice" online will provide quite a bit of reading material. One website extolled its alleged benefits versus the common cold, fevers, jaundice, tooth decay, and UTIs. But as you can guess from my use of the word "alleged" in the previous sentence, I don't think these benefits have been proven scientifically as of yet. Sugarcane juice does have decent amounts of iron, electrolytes, calcium, and magnesium. There are some health detriments to it though. Drinking it raw can be dangerous. Consumers can get infected with Chagas disease, or Leptospirosis, so be mindful of that.
As a slight aside, I learned that 70% of the world's sugar comes from sugarcane, and the remaining 30% from the sugar beet. Brazil and then India are the largest producers of sugarcane. And there's controversy about the use of the term "evaporated cane juice" on product labels. Apparently this is a cheat, a way to hide that foods or beverages contain sugar. Kind of like other intentionally misleading or "doublespeak" expressions, such as saying a used car is "pre-owned," or that an assassination was an "extrajudicial killing," or that a person is not broke, but exhibiting "negative cash flow."
Anyway, the Goya sugarcane juice, or "guarapo de cana," was a yellowish-brown color, and closely resembled apple juice. I found its taste to be rather weird, almost tea-like. It was surprisingly bland, too. I figured anything made from sugarcane would be very sweet, by its very nature, but not so. Overall I was very disappointed, and I won't be buying this one again. I was further amused to read that the ingredient list consisted of water, 35% sugarcane juice, citric acid, and....sugar. Not that it seemed to help!
Also, I'm happy to announce that the horror comic I talked about in last week's post, "The Empties," attained its Kickstarter goal. This bodes well for the series' continuance. Congrats to Kristen, Eli, and the others. And thanks to any readers who helped out.