Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Add to My MSN

Sorghum Revival: You Can Do This!

1/25/2012 1:07:48 AM

Tags: sorghum, self-sufficiency, modern homesteading, , Sherry Leverich Tucker

leverich sorghum millI 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.

"Bronze Gold" 

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).

Learn How! 

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.

Eat it! 

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  

Other Blogs About Sorghum:  Oatmeal Bread, Sorghum Caramel,  Sorghum making 2011, Planting Sorghum 

photo credit:  Elizabeth James, our family sorghum mill 



Related Content

Old Time Molasses Making

Sorghum serves as an excellent substitute for sugar. Learn more on how it used to be made. Originall...

Sorghum Production: Milling and Cooking

A great natural sweetener, sorghum syrup is unique and delicious. Learn the steps to produce this su...

Grow Your Own Sweet Sorghum to Make Molasses

Mary Norwood explains how to grow your own sweet sorghum molasses, and how this easy-to-process, hea...

Sorghum Revival: Making Better Sorghum Syrup

I recently spent the weekend in Tennessee to attend the NSSPPA Conference and yearly meeting to meet...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

Warren Patterson
10/17/2013 10:19:16 AM
I wrote a few posts on my blog about our sorghum harvest if you are interested. We only got started after reading the article this year in Mother Earth News...thanks for the idea! http://www.myhomeamongthehills.com/2013/10/making-sorghum-part-1/ http://www.myhomeamongthehills.com/2013/10/making-sorghum-part-2/ http://www.myhomeamongthehills.com/2013/10/making-sorghum-part-3/

Warren Patterson
10/17/2013 10:18:56 AM
I wrote a few posts on my blog about our sorghum harvest if you are interested. We only got started after reading the article this year in Mother Earth News...thanks for the idea! http://www.myhomeamongthehills.com/2013/10/making-sorghum-part-1/ http://www.myhomeamongthehills.com/2013/10/making-sorghum-part-2/ http://www.myhomeamongthehills.com/2013/10/making-sorghum-part-3/

Cindy Tubbs Monroe
10/26/2012 7:16:43 PM
Sorghum syrup cooking is definitely a learning experience. My husband became interested in this about 20 years ago after hearing his Dad tell stories if cooking syrup as a boy. It has been a journey. We learned by making mistakes lol. Sometimes you just have to fail to succeed! After years of drought, a leaking pan, a pan that was too big, and many other mishaps, he finally had the process down. What he learned.....1) in Alabama planting in May results in the cane maturing in early September. Bad, bad idea. Way too hit. We now plant around July 1st so the cane is ready late October. 2) we cut our cane with a weed eater that has a blade attachment for cutting brush. One person grapes an armful of stalks while a 2nd person cuts them down. Works like a charm. 3) our Columbus mill is converted to run on the PTO of our tractor. Much easier than a mule. 4) by using the tractor, it is not necessary to strip the cane. Stripping the cane was done to make it easier on the mule. 5) a smaller pan is easier to use for cooking. 6) wood is nice, but propane is much, much easier for controlling your heat 7) keep a water hose handy! If it gets too thick too quickly add water. It will cook out! 8) if it is too thick you can aways microwave it in the jug! 9) cooking later in the fall reduces the number of yellow jackets. 10) clean everything thoroughly when you finish. It is much easier to do it then than if you wait until the next year. Year old syrup residue is touch to get off your skimmers! 11) the most important thing is enjoying the day! You are doing something that is becoming a lost "art".

Sherry Tucker
2/19/2012 3:17:42 PM
Oh, Bruce - that is a perfect comfort food. May I add a good cup of coffee?

Sherry Tucker
2/19/2012 3:16:11 PM
Alan, I do not post a blog on another website - only here on Mother Earth News. You are welcome to follow me on twitter or find me on facebook, though :)

BRUCE MCELMURRAY
2/15/2012 10:04:07 PM
I can make a meal of sorghum and fresh hot biscuits. A side dish of grits would make the meal complete.

Alan Rabon
2/15/2012 9:45:51 PM
Can I go onto Sherry's blog without going onto Mother Earth News










Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.