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 it 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 producers in the United States. I remember having it 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 of this syrup on one of these trips and have been buying it ever since. I love it! You can use it as a sweetener just like honey, corn syrup and sugar. It 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. It 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 it 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. It is a healthy, natural product and I love the taste. Once you try it, you will love it, too. I usually alternate between it and honey as sweeteners for my cereal.
Look for sorghum in speciality shops, Amish stores and online.
If you like this Southern syrup 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.