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Image Source : Kagoshima Prefecture
Image provided by : Agriculture and Livestock Industries Development Organization of Japan "Sugar and starch information" (Photo by Miyo Arao)
- Main lore areas
- Main ingredients used
- History/origin/related events
Brown sugar" is sugar made by cutting sugarcane into small pieces and boiling down the juice squeezed out by a press. It is known as a specialty of the Amami region and Okinawa Prefecture.
The Amami Islands are said to have been under the rule of the Ryukyu Kingdom until the 16th century, then under the Satsuma Domain in the Edo period (1603-1868), and then under the rule of the U.S. after the war. The area has been influenced by the history of brown sugar, which was a very high quality foodstuff. During the period when the island belonged to the Satsuma clan, annual tribute was paid in brown sugar, which was very expensive at the time, instead of rice, and the Satsuma clan had a monopoly on brown sugar. The Satsuma clan monopolized the production of brown sugar, and the islanders were forced to give priority to the production of brown sugar, creating a harsh situation called "brown sugar hell" in which they were unable to produce enough food for their daily needs. In addition, after the war, large sugar factories were built in order to focus on domestic sugar production, and the traditional culture of brown sugar production in the Amami region was in danger of dying out. Thus, the production of brown sugar in the Amami region has been tossed about with the times, but it has taken strong root as a sweetener that supports the food culture of the Amami Islands and the Kagoshima mainland from the bottom up.
Because brown sugar contains a lot of nectar, it tends to clump together, and most of the brown sugar sold in general is in the form of crushed blocks. Because of its deep, caramel-like flavor, brown sugar is not as versatile as white sugar, but it is widely used in dishes that take advantage of its flavor.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
In addition to being used to flavor a variety of dishes, brown sugar is often eaten on its own when hungry or as a snack. Because it is rich in vitamins and minerals, it is sometimes eaten as a nutritional supplement.
- How to eat
Squeeze the juice from the stalks of sugarcane, boil it down to evaporate the water, cool it, and then harden it. Brown sugar is used in many of Kagoshima Prefecture's representative local dishes, from side dishes such as "pork bones" to sweets such as "getanha" and "fukuregashi," as well as alcoholic beverages such as "brown sugar shochu. In the Kyushu region and Okinawa Prefecture in particular, brown sugar-flavored sweets are very common and loved by people of all ages, from adults to children.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
(Overview of those who have passed it on, preservation groups, use of SNS, and modern efforts such as commercialization, etc.)
As a common sweetener, it can be easily purchased at supermarkets and other places. In recent years, the frequency of eating brown sugar has been increasing even outside of the prefecture due to the growing health-consciousness. It is also popular as a souvenir of the Amami region.