Grain sorghum is the third most important cereal crop grown in the United States and the fifth most important cereal crop grown in the world. It is used to make such foods as couscous, sorghum flour, porridge and molasses.
In the cuisine of the Southern United States, sorghum syrup was used as a sweet condiment, much as maple syrup was used in the North, usually for biscuits, corn bread, pancakes, hot cereals or baked beans. It is uncommon today.
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We grew sorghum this year for the first time at our new farm in North Carolina. We grew Mennonite sorghum which is dual purpose(grain/syrup). The chickens love the grain, and will eat it right off the plant if you bend over the stalk. Processing the stalks into molasses is tedious and time consuming, and in my experience not worth the effort. We will be growing millet and sorghum in the future for livestock feed, but no more molasses for me.
Where I live sorghum molasses used to be a significant cash crop, though it has almost disapeared now.
Unfortunately the pressures needed to squeeze it out of the stalks requires a large and heavy mechanical milling machine. There seems to be no practical and efficient available technology for home-scale production. Traditionally the sorgum pressing seems to have been a community-scale project.
I only got involved with sorghum about three months ago.
It appears we should be eating more of it. None of the bulk food stores stock the grain and certainly not the molasses. I ordered some of both off the Internet at great expense and found it more than acceptable.
I use the sorghum for making porridge or gruel mixed with other grains. I have some cooking now.
It is amazing that something so common is not utilized more for human consumption. Nutrients in the syrup are about the same as cane molasses. The whole grains are very similar to fields corn nutrient-wise.
James D Young
Location: Brantford, ON Canada
posted 4 years ago
Marianne Cicala wrote:Happily, it's alive and well in southern VA - still a community undertaking and celebration! Done the old school way with huge iron pots brewing over an open flame
Nice pictures. That is a vicious crusher, unbreakable. I assume an old wringer washing machine will not suffice.
My internet research says that about ten tons of crushing pressure is required. Just about every experiment with light household scale equipment that I could find discussed was reported to be a failure.
In another thread I've been corrected of my misapprehension (repeated twice in this thread) about the lack of hand tools that can crush sorghum for the sweet juice. It turns out there is an expensive hand tool ($2,500!) that can do the job.