Sorghum By: Megan Warren
December 7, 2009Menifee County High School
Back's purpose of making his own sorghum instead of buying it from someone is for the quality and knowing that it is chemical free "...You don't bother people that way," said Larry. He plans to do this as a family project, again next year.
Larry has always wanted to try making sorghum, on a very small scale, just enough for the family use. He grew cane and he already had a cane mill to press the juice. Back used no chemicals in the process because he believes what is in the soil ends up in the juice, thus on the table. This allows him to control each step out of the process, full quality, and variety, planting, harvesting, milling and boiling the syrup. This also gives him the odds for high quality sorghum. No large producer would want to stop their operation to make 2-5 gallons for him, Larry wouldn't feel good asking them too, either.
The Materials needed in making homemade sorghum are ripe cane, cane mill, large copper or stainless steel pot; propane burner, cloth strainers and a skimmer. It takes approximately one hour to press the juice from the cane stalks through the mill. It will take about four hours to boil the juice into sorghum syrup. Depending on the taste you want is what type of cane you use, Larry used KN-Norris cane, which is a new variety of cane obtained by Morris Bitzer at the University of Kentucky. This variety includes Della, Sugar Drip and Dale cane.
Baked goods like breads, cakes, pies, muffins, and cookies can be sweetened with sorghum syrup. Chewy confections like caramels and taffy can be made with it, and it can be used in sweet coatings for snacks and cereals. Vegetables, fruits, and meats can be glazed with the syrup, and it goes well in sauces. "This is not a good way for large production purposes. I couldn't make sorghum on a standard evaporator pan that takes skills I don't have. This is for a small amount only, just enough for the family."