Sunday, November 24, 2013

East Tennessee Sweet Sorghum

Old Fashion Fall Activities at Deep Springs Baptist Church

We just happen to pass by this event on the way home from Dandridge and I had to stop.  I was not disappointed!  Church members were demonstrating old fashioned crafts and farming practices.

Sweet sorghum is a type of grass that is used for making syrup and can also be used as silage. 
Sometimes sorghum syrup is called molasses, but molasses is made from sugar cane or from sugar beets. It is usually much thicker and much darker in color. Sorghum has a lighter distinctive flavor.

Horse-driven, antique sorghum-cane juicer being used to extract the liquid from the cane.

photo by treehugger
Buckets of Sorghum juice being poured into to a simmering pan of syrup on an open fire.  This method is much the same as it was done in the 19th century.  Each generation learns from their parents and grandparents.  Because it is a labor intensive process, it is a time for extended family members to get together.

Cooking the sorghum juice to make syrup

The juice from the cane is cooked in a large shallow pan over a wood fire.  The men use long wooden paddles to stir the syrup so the that it cooks evenly.

Sorghum syrup and butter on a hot biscuit

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