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SORGHUM – SWEET SOUTHERN SYRUP

Sorghum-Sweet Syrup of the SouthThe past two weeks I have been doing a post on some of my favorite things.  So far, I have written about walnuts and honey. This week it’s sorghum.

Most Southerners know that sorghum is the “sweet syrup of the South”.  The sweet sorghum plant was introduced to the United States in the 1850′s. It is a native of Africa, a member of the grass family and is heat-resistant. Hundreds of years ago sorghum was a main sweetener in cooking and is still produced today. By the 1890′s it had become mostly a Southern crop. Kentucky and Tennessee are top sorghum producers in the United States.  I remember having sorghum once in a while as a child but became very familiar with this product back in the seventies when my children were small and I often visited an Amish community in Liberty, Kentucky.  My neighbor and I would make a trip down to Amish country about twice a month to buy fresh butter and eggs. I bought some sorghum on one of these trips and have been buying it ever since.  I love sorghum.  You can use it as a sweetener just like honey, corn syrup and sugar.  Sorghum is wonderful on pancakes, biscuits and in recipes for baked items like cakes and cookies.   It makes a wonderful topping for ice cream.  Some people sweeten their coffee with sorghum.

Sorghum has no chemical additives. It is 100% natural. Sorghum is gluten-free and good for those suffering from wheat allergies and celiac disease but it will affect blood sugar levels in diabetics.  This product is rich in iron, potassium and calcium and high in magnesium and copper.  Magnesium contributes to healthy bone tissue and copper boosts your immune system.  Iron promotes healthy circulation.  Sorghum promotes digestive health due to its fiber content.

Sorghum is lighter in color and tastes sweeter than molasses. It is not as processed as regular molasses. Sorghum crystallizes just like honey. You can place it in a pan of water; and heat over low heat until it returns to its original consistency. Be sure to remove the lid first.

Kentucky has several sorghum festivals each year.  West Liberty in Morgan County will have their sorghum festival this month.  It runs September 27-29.

A few of my favorite ways to use sorghum is on cornmeal mush, in baked beans and in breads like molasses oat bread. I am never without a jar of this sweet syrup in my cupboard.  Sorghum is a healthy, natural product and I love the taste. Once you try it, you will love it, too.  I usually alternate between sorghum and honey as sweeteners for my cereal.

Look for sorghum in speciality shops, Amish stores and online.

If you like sorghum or use it in your recipes and cooking, leave me a comment with your favorite way to use this great syrup.

Here is a good recipe for Sorghum Cake with Cinnamon Sauce.

Sorghum Molasses Cake with Cinnamon Sauce

References and good articles on sorghum molasses:Sorghum Molasses, Bittersweet Style  Health Benefits of Sorghum, What is Sorghum Syrup, Cooking with Sorghum

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26 Responses

  1. Do you know if there is an Amish community in Tulsa,Oklahoma? I am not able to Travel & my daughter will not go out of State & leave me alone.

  2. I know this is a recipe site, but I live in Montana and we can’t find sorghum here. Do know some where we can order some.
    We can get mollasses here but not sorghum.

  3. Blairsville, Georgia has a Sorghum Festival the 2nd and 3rd weekends of October every year. Both weekends are slap full of all kinds of fun! We love it!

  4. I grew up in southern Illinois and sorghum was a stable in the house. I loved it. I used to find it here in Virginia or on-line but recently have had trouble finding any. I am still looking so hopefully someone will have it. That was our Sunday evening dinner…fresh milk from the cows and home-made butter, biscuits and sorghum….yum!

  5. there is no nothing better than swopping hot buttered bisquits with it!

  6. My mother use to give sorghum when we were small she made home made roll we dipped it in sorghum with a glass of milk it was good I mean good

  7. Chiming in from New England: I remember both my grandmothers using sorghum molasses in their cooking and baking. Although it seems to have declined in use around here, I believe it was very popular in the twenties and thirties, judging by the recipes I have. Great to know all the health benefits, thanks for the heads-up!

  8. Got a taste of this wonderful syrup on Saturday here in Virginia the “Field Day of the Past” festival in Goochland County. or maybe Hanover County area.right outside of Richmond off I-64 West. We watched as the canes were run through a press after being stripped of it’s leaves. What a wonderful day going back in time, seeing how our families made a life for themselves. So much hands on stuff for the kids, Loved it.

  9. I can remember having a hot biscuit from the oven and putting real butter and sorghum on it. MMMMMM so good. I sure miss those days.

  10. Sorghum Cake with Cinnamon Sauce looks awesome I have to ask my daughter to please make it for us.

  11. Is there any good place that you know that sells sorghum molasses. We can only get store bought and i am positive it is not the same.

    • Most Amish communities will have it in their stores. That is where I get it. Check online with places that actually make it and sell it.

  12. I LIVE IN MARYLAND AND HAVE BEEN SEEING THIS SHORT LOOK ALIKE CORN FOR ABOUT 3 YEARS. FINALLY ASKED THE AMISH IN OUR NEIGHBORING COMM. AND THEY SAID IT WAS SORGHUM. WILL HAVE TO GET SOME IN TRY. WE ARE IN SOUTHERN MD.

  13. WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, MY MOM WOULD MAKE UP HER BISCUIT DOUGH IN THE BIG BREAD PAN WITH THE FLOUR AND A HOLE IN THE MIDDLE WHERE SHE MIXED IT UP. SHE WOULD USE THE SORGHUM SYRUP INSTEAD OF MILK AND MAKE SWEET BREAD FOR US AND IT WAS SHAPED LIKED BISCUITS AND BAKED IN AN IRON FRYING PAN. THEY WERE SOO GOOD AND I LOOKED FORWARD TO HER MAKING IT.

  14. https://www.facebook.com/deal.sorghum……..My friends the Deals have owned a sorghum mill for many years and as we speak are making sorghum.It is an amazing process to watch.

  15. Also did you know that sorghum, like honey, does not spoil? Water introduced will create a medium for mold, so you never want to dip a wet spoon in either. Both are so acid that bacteria can’t get a foothold.

    P.s. I grew up in WEST Liberty. Sorghum is not molasses and is not called “sorghum molasses”. It’s just “sorghum”.

    Thx.

    • Yes, I do know there is a difference, David. I guess so many people in these parts say molasses and I’ve heard it all my life and just can’t get it out of my head. I know several people that make sorghum in the Forkland area of Kentucky as well and they all say sorghum molasses. I don’t hear very many people say sorghum syrup where I live even though they are both syrups. I do know that molasses is made from cane.

  16. My Dad raised and cooked out sorghum and ribbon cane syrup off and on for years. He has passed now but the memories of sharing the hard work and the wonderful end results will live on in my heart forever. It is a dying art, I am proud to say I lived it..

  17. I grew up about 15 miles from Liberty and about 5 miles from the Amish community…..near the Windsor Community. I still keep sorghum and love to mix it with butter and eat it on hot biscuits!!

  18. this looks absolutely delicious, I love molasses cakes and cookies and I must try this, I have heard of sorghum, but I would never buy it, I would just use molasses, sure it will be just as good.

  19. My parents were from Kentucky, and I remember eating sorghum molasses as a child living in Michigan. We would smash butter into it until it was evenly mixed and became molasses butter, and then we would spread it on hot homemade biscuits…it was absolutely delicious! I’ll have to start enjoying it once again, thanks for the reminder : )

  20. Now that you’ve told us there’s a sorghum festival in Liberty next weekend, tell me where to go to buy Sorghum. Just asked my husband if we could go. Being a quilter, I LOVE King’s for their quilting fabric, so it will be a great trip!

    And, where is the Amish community in that area? We love to visit bulk food stores for spices, noodles, fresh produce, etc. I wasn’t aware there were Amish there, but we don’t get over that way often, either. I’ll watch for your answer.

    • The Amish community is in Liberty, Kentucky and the Sorghum Festival is in West Liberty. West Liberty is a completely different area of the state. They are not close to each other. The Amish community in Liberty, Ky. is out of Liberty about 10 miles. You can look it up online. It is located on Highway 906, I think is the road. It is out in the country. There is a great place to eat before you get there called The Bread of Life Cafe. You can look all this up online. The Amish Community has a bulk food store, too. I get spices there and have for years. Also, fresh produce and furniture.

  21. When my daughter was a toddler, we learned she was anemic. Our pediatrician told me to start feeding her sorghum because it had iron in it. She had buttered toast or biscuits every morning with sorghum butter on them. She loved it!

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