Cane Harvesting at Mena Ck South Johnstone in Oct 2021

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What is eker, how is it produced and its history


Although the chewing sweetness of sugarcane was probably prehistoric, the earliest evidence of its cultivation dates back to around 8000 BC.


Sugar has become not only the main ingredient of our kitchens, but also a strategic product that changed the course of history, paved the way for scientific studies and even caused competition between continents and countries.








What Is Sugar?

Turkish Language Institution sugar: Sugar cane, sugar beet, potato, carrot, corn, wheat etc. It defines it as the general name of substances extracted from the sap or starch of the stems and roots of plants, containing carbon, oxygen and hydrogen in their combination, white, water-soluble, fermentable and mostly sweet.


Some plants in nature produce sugar through photosynthesis using sunlight. Among these plants, sugar beet and sugar cane extracts are the most natural and efficient options for obtaining sugar due to the high sugar content.








History of Sugar

Let's take a look at the historical adventure of "white gold", sugar, the oldest and most valuable product in the world, as well as sweetening our lives:








8000 BC

Sugarcane, whose sweet essence was discovered by chewing by the indigenous people of New Guinea, began to be cultivated for the first time in history after being cultivated.








8000 BC - 600 AD

Sugarcane cultivation techniques spread to Southeast Asia, China, and India through sea traders. Sugar crystallized for the first time in India. Sugar is thought to have been first refined in India, as a sugar mill is mentioned for the first time in an Indian text from 100 AD.








0 – 350

The Greeks and Romans learned about sugar during their visit to India. In the medical records of both Roman and Greek civilizations, it was seen that crystallized sugar was used to treat indigestion and stomach ailments.




500 – 600

The methods of growing and processing sugarcane reaching Iran were developed here. They developed better methods for processing cane sugar into crystalline sugar. These techniques spread to the Mediterranean along with the Arabs throughout Mesopotamia.





China began to develop sugarcane cultivation techniques using technology it had acquired from India.







The Arabs who invaded Iran met with sugar cane here. They learned how to grow sugar cane and how to obtain sugar. Later, as they conquered Egypt, Persia, India and the Mediterranean, they took their sugar knowledge with them.




800 – 900

Sugarcane was widely used in Southern Europe after the Arab occupations; primarily grown in Sicily and Spain. European doctors learned how to use sugar medicinally from Arab texts. The Egyptians, under Arab rule, mastered the refining process and were able to make the purest, whitest sugar.






1096 – 1099

Having captured Jerusalem, the Crusaders learned of sugar production, which they saw as a profitable business. When the Crusaders returned to their homes, they took the sugar they called "sweet salt" with them.








1101 – 1150

There was widespread interest in sugar in Europe. Lebanese plots were established near Tire to grow sugarcane and export it to Europe.








1402 – 1500

The Spanish colonized the Canary Islands, establishing sugarcane plantations and enslaving the indigenous population to work in sugar production. This process, which lasted until 1500, caused the sugar industry to stagnate as the forests on the islands depleted, and in 1493, Columbus brought sugar cane from the Canary Islands to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. By 1516, Haiti and the Dominican Republic became the most important sugar producers in the New World.




Reasons such as unsuitable climate for growing sugar cane, infertile soil, destruction of forests and lack of workforce made sugar production difficult in the Mediterranean. Importing sugar has become easier than growing and producing it. When the Turks conquered Constantinople, the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe in 1453, they also took control of the main trade routes. Seeking ways to circumvent the Turks and Arabs, Europeans embarked on geographical expeditions to find new lands where they could grow their own sugar.





1500 – 1540

The Portuguese brought sugar cane to the New World (Brazil) and established sugar cane plantations. 800 sugar cane mills were built on Santa Catarina Island and 2000 mills were built on the northern coast of Brazil. Thus, technological advances were made in sugar production and all New World colonies dominated the industry, leaving the Mediterranean behind.

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