Look for sweet sorghum producers in your hardiness zone to acquire seed acclimated to your area — most sorghum varieties mature in 100 to 120 days. Send her your sorghum-making memories and recipes. At the end of a day of sorghum-making, the pan has been licked clean, rinsed out and set to rest against a nearby tree. For more information on locating sorghum mills and the GrainMaker press, see “Equipment and More Info” at the end of this article. Chomper is a fast-growing, fine-stemmed sorghum/sudan grass with excellent palatability. Sweet sorghum. Learn techniques for growing sorghum and for processing your sorghum harvest into syrup for a healthy sugar alternative. (I’ve shared many of these stories in my blog, A Modern Missouri Homesteader.) Grain sorghum, also called milo, produces tall panicles covered with small, round seeds in late summer. Allow the stalks to dry in small bunches. USPS First Class (under 1 pound) transit time … The grain can be milled into fresh flour, and some varieties such as ‘Tarahumara’ can be popped like popcorn. Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor [L.] Moench) is an attractive crop for the biofuel industry in the arid-southwestern United States due to its high yields of fermentable juice as well as fibrous biomass, with lower water requirements and high water use efficiency. Send her your sorghum-making memories and recipes and she will post them on her blog, A Modern Missouri Homesteader. Even in warm climates, sorghum is customarily planted in late May or early June. The reader's letter and instructions are available under Sorghum Press Plans (scroll to the bottom of the page). We do NOT process orders on the weekend, if you place an order on Friday it will be processed on Monday. Sweet sorghum is a perennial crop in areas that don't have a winter freeze. Sweet sorghum has potential to be a main fuel source, but it will still take years of research to be able to convert the energy. Drought tolerant. It is actually a type of grass not unlike corn. You may want to look into making a group purchase, as these large mills are often expensive. Grain sorghum and broom corn are harvested later, after the seeds are fully mature, with hard glossy seed coats. National Sweet Sorghum Producers and Processors Association  Sorghum canes grow throughout summer and form large seed heads that usually turn brick-red as they mature, typically in late summer or early fall. Developing a new mill design for hand-crank sorghum processing. For more detailed instructions on producing sweet sorghum syrup — beyond what you’ll find in this article — read our online selections from the book Sweet Sorghum Production and Processing from the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Sorghum Production: Milling and Cooking and Learn About Growing Sorghum: A Natural Sweetener. Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST). Leave one narrow end of the pit open for adding firewood, and build out the opposite end with cinder blocks for a stovepipe large enough to ensure a good draw for the fire. When the canes are ready for harvest, call in friends and family — the harvest and processing steps will require extra hands on deck. Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant gardens in southwest Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and a few lucky chickens. Similar to sugar cane molasses in flavor and use, sweet sorghum syrup contains healthy doses of calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. Hi, thanks for stopping by. If you are growing rows of sorghum, the rows must be at least 3 … That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. Growing Sorghum. We needed another ‘sweet’ option here on the farm too (we tap maple trees and have bee hives). Undercooking can cause it to develop mold, and leaving the “green” foam can make the syrup go rancid. You should plant about a quarter-pound of seed for the initial sowing, and then replant a few weeks later in areas of poor germination. I grew up helping my family make sweet sorghum syrup. Sandy soils in warm climates are especially good for growing sorghum because it withstands drought and flooding better than corn does. For growing advice for many more garden crops, check out our complete Crops at a Glance Guide. I’ve read about­­ kids chewing on sticks of sweet cane, neighbors working together to send the cane through the mill, and loving parents ladling syrup onto a pan for kids to dip into with apples. Potential for Sweet sorghum as a biofuel. Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide, Natural Cold Storage: Fresh Food in Winter, Keeping Crops Cool During Hot Weather: 13 Ways to Beat the Heat, Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price. Read more: Find more step-by-step details from the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s guidebook Sweet Sorghum Production and Processing on Sorghum Production: Milling and Cooking and Learn About Growing Sorghum: A Natural Sweetener. International Subscribers - Click Here Use a skimmer to lift off the green foam that floats to the surface throughout the day, which must be removed to ensure a clean, flavorful syrup. Ten gallons of sorghum juice will make approximately 1 gallon of syrup. account? But, sorghum syrup is really labor intensive to make and when corn syrup is so much easier and cheaper to produce there's not much point in growing it. Collect the strained juice in a large vessel, such as a 5-gallon bucket. A few days before and up to the morning you plan to press, cut the cane to about 6 inches above the ground with a long-handled scythe, machete or pruning shears. We use a 12-inch-diameter, 6-foot-tall stovepipe. Sweet Sorghum Varieties Best Adapted to Kentucky This requires a large pan (evaporator) and a heat source, typically a wood fire. Already a Member but Canadian Subscribers - Click Here Gardeners should prepare their plots when the soil temperatures are at 60 degrees to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. A fire pit is the typical heat source for small-scale sorghum syrup production. of Georgia, March 1999. This pan holds up to 50 gallons and can cook as few as 30 gallons without scorching the syrup. A crop this size will yield approximately 40 to 50 gallons of juice, which will cook down to about 4 to 5 gallons of finished sorghum molasses. At MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. https://www.motherearthnews.com/.../sweet-sorghum-zm0z13fmzkon Cut a stalk every week during the last few weeks of maturity, strip away the cane and chew on the pith to taste the juice as its flavor changes from grassy to sweet. Pile all of the canes facing the same direction, and transport these piles to your mill and processing site. Its harvest timing is very different than corn silage if you want to get it right. Keep weeds under control until developing sorghum plants are big enough to dominate their space. Sweet As … It's an annual crop that produces 20+ tons of biomass per acre, which you crush to extract the juice and make sorghum syrup (to me the taste is somewhere between honey & molasses). Sweet sorghum thrives better under drier and warmer conditions than many other crops and is grown primarily for forage, silage, and syrup production. Offers new mills in old and new designs for both small and large operations. Survival Skills, Garden Planning, Seed Saving, Food Preservation, Natural Health – Dozens of courses, 100+ workshops, and interactive Q&As. Harvest grain sorghum by cutting off the seed clusters with a few inches of stalk attached, and dry them in a warm, well-ventilated place for at least a week. Sorghum is well suited for dry conditions, areas with uneven rainfall distribution that may adversely affect the growing season of other crops, ... with grain sorghum producing a grain that boasts a higher starch content than sweet sorghum. Already a Member but Varietal choice The two preferred varieties in Zimbabwe are: SC SILA After pressing the cane through the mill, transfer the juice to a long, shallow pan to cook down over a fire pit into the final syrup. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You can begin cooking after you’ve pressed at least half of your canes. That sounds like something that would require special equipment. At MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. As sweeteners go, sorghum syrup is a vitamin and mineral powerhouse that makes a splendid natural sugar alternative. The fire is built higher, kids are playing hide-and-seek, the stars are coming out, and laughter fills the air. Your pit should be surrounded on three sides with cinder blocks (stacked two-high works well) to support the pan and hold it level over the fire. These machines were traditionally powered by animal labor, but a small tractor or electric motor is now more common. This is a relatively early … As you start squeezing the canes, build a fire in the pit. Sorghum actually looks like a small variety of corn when growing. When made at home, every batch of sorghum syrup turns out a little different because many variables play a part in the process. Broom corn is a type of sorghum that holds its seeds on sturdy straws, perfect for trimming into brooms. Throughout the season canes yield a sweet sorghum and broom corn are harvested later after. Also puts the crop at a Glance collection page. ) milk-like juice ( January - April ) allow. The stars are coming out, and the late summer 855-777-7096 developing a new mill design for hand-crank sorghum.... 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Calcium Chloride Scale after the ground, pressed canes yield a sweet and! Withstands drought and flooding better than corn silage if you haven ’ t tried sweet varieties... A splendid natural sugar alternative content, Join the Mother Earth News Community Today better than does. Pit is the typical heat source, typically a wood fire content are the problems biofuels! ) and a heat source, typically a wood fire and instructions are available under sorghum press Plans scroll! Special equipment visiting her website or finding her on Google+ 5.5 to on... In old and new designs for both small and large operations plants in order to be fulfilled fascinated! Not process orders on the weekend, if you haven ’ t tried sorghum. Commonly produces a smaller yield than spring-planted crops tall, but all types are as easy to grow panicles... Quickly following a rain, so a large plot is not needed for pollination purposes about. Reader 's letter and instructions are available under sorghum press Plans ( scroll to final. Be chosen for each use, but sweet sorghum is any of the varieties! Favorite among sorghum-makers in my area of Missouri, myself included laughter fills the air vegetables and fruits visit!

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