October is a pretty “sweet” month—who doesn’t enjoy traveling from house to house and filling a pillowcase with candy? Or maybe you like to eat candied apples, caramel corn, and other goodies during church harvest festivals and carnivals. No matter where you get your tasty treats, each holds a not-so-secret ingredient that makes it simply irresistible: sugar!
Too much sugar is unhealthy, of course. Sugar is in so much of our food that we hardly go a day without it. But God created this world bursting with zest and flavor—and that’s something to celebrate!
Most of the sugar we buy from the store comes from the tall, green stalks of a plant called sugarcane.
Sugarcane grows in warm, tropical places like Brazil and Cuba—and in some of the warmer parts of the United States such as Florida, Hawaii, and Louisiana.
We sometimes call the stalks “canes,” which is where the name “sugarcane” comes from. The next time you are in your local grocery store, ask your parents to buy a stalk of sugarcane. Cut away the outside and chew on the inside of the cane—it tastes very sweet!
From Stalks to Crystals
When sugarcane is the right size, it gets chopped down and taken to a sugar factory. Many factories use big machines called “mill rollers” to squeeze the sweet juice from the sugarcane.
Workers heat the sugarcane juice in large containers and mix it with special minerals to help separate any dirt, grass, and bugs (yuck!) that might be in it.
The juice gets so hot that the water in it turns to steam—it “evaporates.” As the water evaporates, the sugary juice that is left in the containers becomes a thick brown syrup.
When that syrup gets even hotter, it forms amazing sugar crystals that are yellowish-brown in color. We call these crystals “raw sugar.”
Most raw sugar is then refined, or cleaned up some more, until it becomes the kind of sugar we use most. That process is similar to the one above, only with other ingredients added to make the crystals sparkling white. We call these crystals “granulated sugar”—the kind of sugar you might find in your kitchen cabinet.
The next time you open a bag of M&Ms or pop a few gummy bears in your mouth, think about where the sugar came from to make your treat so tasty!
There are other natural sweeteners (or natural sugar) that many people enjoy as healthy options to regular sugar. See if you can guess each sweetener by putting a letter next to the correct sentence.
A. Fructose B. Coconut sugar C. Honey D. Maple syrup
1. ____ This sweetener comes from the sap of certain trees in North America. 2. ____ Bzzzz! This sweetener is produced by very busy insects. 3. ____ This is a natural sugar found in many fruits. 4. ____ This sugar comes from tropical palm flowers.
Make Your Own Candy!
You can make your very own “rock candy” out of sugar and a few other ingredients. Be sure to have an adult help you with the boiling water.
What you’ll need:
1 glass jar thick cotton string (not thread) 2 cups water 4 cups granulated sugar 1 pencil 1 small paperclip 1 medium-sized cooking pot 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional) food coloring (optional)
What to do:
- Cut a piece of string so that it hangs down just to the bottom of the jar.
- Tie the string to a pencil, and tie the paperclip to the other end of the string.
- Dip the string in water, and then dip it in some sugar. Place the paperclip end of the string inside the jar, and rest the pencil on top of the jar.
- Boil two cups of water in a pot on the stove. Once the water boils, carefully add one cup of sugar to the pot at a time. Make sure each cup of sugar dissolves completely before adding the next one.
- Once all the sugar has dissolved, turn off the stove and remove the pan from the heat. You may add a few drops of food coloring and/or vanilla at this time.
- Wait 10 minutes, then have an adult pour the sugar water into your jar until the jar is almost full. Carefully place the jar in a cool area where it will not be disturbed. Loosely cover the top of it with a piece of plastic wrap. You should start to see sugar crystals form after a day or so.
- After a few days, remove the pencil with your string of sugar crystals and enjoy your rock candy!
It’s such a great treat to sink your teeth into a warm, gooey chocolate-chip cookie or taste a spoonful of your favorite ice cream. But there’s something even sweeter: God’s Word!
But that doesn’t mean the Bible tastes good—it means that God’s Word is wonderful and comforting.
The Bible is full of beautiful word pictures—bright and colorful images of creation that help us understand who God is and how much God loves us.
Take a look at Psalm 19. Verse 10 says that God’s laws and commands are “sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.”
You could also say, “God’s Word is sweeter than sugar, than sugar from the cane.” No matter how you say it, there is nothing sweeter!
Write your favorite dessert or candy in the blank below:
“God, your Word is sweeter than .”