Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
I think a sorghum revival is about to take place. Have you always been interested in growing and making sweet sorghum syrup? Have you eaten it or seen it made and wondered if you could do it? Maybe it's time to give it a try.
Sorghum holds a value of many sorts. Some find appeal in its nutritional depth. It is sugar, but it is sugar full of necessary nutrients, including iron and magnesium. To a locavore it can become the accessible local sugar. Making sorghum is self-sufficiency at its best; this sweetener can be grown and processed on your own property with minimal equipment. For me, sorghum is a full of nostalgia as the memories of my family making it have nested itself as part of my childhood. Sorghum was brought to America many years ago, and we have certainly adopted it as part of our American heritage. Sorghum can become a family or community event where this locally grown cane, with a day's work, becomes a golden, rich syrup to be shared and enjoyed. In this way, sorghum can prove to be a community builder, strengthening and uniting friends and neighbors (as it did in the past).
I want to help you discover this skill and become part of this revolution! It can start by learning about the process. Read the first article I wrote about sorghum making, or this 1975 Mother Earth News sorghum article. In future blogs I will be sharing information about seed varieties and ways to procure seed. We will also discuss sorghum mills. A heavy duty, quick method to squeeze a large portion of the juice from the sorghum cane stalks is a necessity to sorghum making, this is what the mill or press is for. For cooking and reducing the juice into sorghum, an outdoor furnace under a large pan is needed. There are also several useful tools needed for skimming and stirring the syrup as it cooks that can be easily fabricated.
I will also be sharing recipes. Sorghum has a rich, earthy taste (comparable to molasses) that can impact the flavor of many recipes in a way that other sweeteners cannot. Gingersnaps are wonderful made with sorghum, oatmeal bread is hearty and flavorful and bbq sauce and baked beans will never be the same once you try them with sorghum. When making your own sorghum, you can cook it light or dark, thinner or thicker according to your preference. We can also discuss alternative uses for the seed and stalk.
Lets talk about it...
Please share with me any questions you may have about this skill. If you grew up with sorghum making and have stories, information or pictures that would help others learn about this process, I would love to hear from you. It would be wonderful to build a network of sorghum makers so that those searching for a mill or other equipment can connect with others who can help with the search.
Comments can be left on my blog, or you can contact me on twitter @SherryLevTucker. I have also created a facebook page called “Sorghum Revival” that anyone can join and be involved in conversation on this subject. Another option is to send email responses to letters@MotherEarthNews.com (please include “Sorghum” in the email subject line) or mail letters to Sorghum; Attention H. Hunt; Mother Earth News; 1503 SW 42nd St.; Topeka , KS 66609
photo credit: Elizabeth James, our family sorghum mill