For example, we use a stainless steel pan that’s 6 feet long and 3 feet wide with 6-inch-high sides. Plant them 1 to 2 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart. Similar to sugar cane molasses in flavor and use, sweet sorghum syrup contains healthy doses of calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. Keep weeds under control until developing sorghum plants are big enough to dominate their space. Roll the dried seed heads over a hardware cloth screen to free the seeds, and then winnow out plant debris and store your processed harvest in the freezer. Comparatively, a smaller, 100-square-foot crop (two 50-foot rows) would produce about 6 gallons of juice and two-thirds gallon of syrup. Provides useful information and services to sorghum producers, including an events calendar. Step aside, honey and maple syrup — there’s a new sweetener on the block, and it can be grown and processed right at home. Be especially careful not to undercook or underskim, as these can ruin a batch more than anything else. The ground, pressed canes yield a sweet, light green juice that is then cooked into sorghum syrup. Grain sorghum and broom corn are harvested later, after the seeds are fully mature, with hard glossy seed coats. Unlike corn, sorghum is self-fertile, so a large plot is not needed for pollination purposes. https://www.motherearthnews.com/.../sweet-sorghum-zm0z13fmzkon When the syrup is complete, the pan needs to be transferred from the heat to a heat-safe surface. Gardeners should prepare their plots when the soil temperatures are at 60 degrees to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Late planting also puts the crop at risk for hotter weather and drier conditions and commonly produces a smaller yield than spring-planted crops. You can find vintage iron sorghum mills at farm sales or purchase new machines built following old designs. As sweeteners go, sorghum syrup is a vitamin and mineral powerhouse that makes a splendid natural sugar alternative. The seeds are eagerly eaten by chickens and other animals, and are most palatable when cracked. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. You must thin sorghum plantings to 4 to 6 inches between plants in order to grow thick, tall canes. (I’ve shared many of these stories in my blog, A Modern Missouri Homesteader.) A fire pit is the typical heat source for small-scale sorghum syrup production. We do NOT process orders on the weekend, if you place an order on Friday it will be processed on Monday. Like to read more content, Join the Mother Earth News Community Today! Sorghums ... Sweet sorghum and sorghum-sudangrass often cannot be stored as hay because of the difficulty in drying the forage to a safe storage moisture content of 25% or less. The grain can be milled into fresh flour, and some varieties such as ‘Tarahumara’ can be popped like popcorn. Its harvest timing is very different than corn silage if you want to get it right. Sweet sorghum is a perennial crop in areas that don't have a winter freeze. Already a Member but If you have sorghum recipes to share, send them to Letters@MotherEarthNews.com. 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. This corn could be very immature when it is harvested. In summer, select vigorous plants for seed production, and make sure they receive adequate food and water throughout the season. Sorghum-makers press sweet, green juice from the sorghum canes and cook the juice down into a finished syrup. Sweet sorghum is comparable to grain sorghum in the fact that it can grow in the same droughty, more harsh climates while yielding well. The barely-mature seeds can be fed to animals, or cooked and eaten like other whole grains. I feed this byproduct to our pigs, along with the spent sorghum canes — they wallow in, sleep on and eat them with relish. Potential for Sweet sorghum as a biofuel. Up to a week before your processing date, remove all of the leaves and seed heads from the canes, saving the seed heads for replanting. account? 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. The long growing season makes late planting of sorghum risky in cooler climates. We plan to evaluate the potential of sweet sorghum as an ethanol-producing crop for Nebraska. Smooth the soil back over the plowed area and sow sorghum seeds by hand. Sorghum is a natural sweetener that's packed with nutrients and can be used in many recipes. Undercooking can cause it to develop mold, and leaving the “green” foam can make the syrup go rancid. It has been proven to be highly palatable due to its large leaf and medium sized juicy sweet stalks which also increases its energy value. Another positive climate change value of this crop is that it consumes less water. Collect the strained juice in a large vessel, such as a 5-gallon bucket. The ‘Dale’ variety is productive in a range of climates, or you can try heirloom sweet sorghum varieties like ‘Sugar Drip’ or ‘Rox Orange.’ For more information on this type of sorghum, go to Sweet Sorghum Revival: How to Grow Your Own Natural Sweetener. 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. Sorghum is a heat-loving, warm-season crop. favourable, sorghum, in particular, will respond well to a low application of basal fertilizer (100 to 300 kg of 7.14.7 per ha) followed with a top dressing of 100 to 200 kg per ha of 28 - 34% N fertilizer. 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. Place the clean pan over the fire and immediately pour the juice in, adding the remaining juice to the pan as you press. I grew up helping my family make sweet sorghum syrup. Sorghum seed must be planted, thinned and fertilized in late May to early June, after the ground is warm. 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. Sorghum grows best where summers are quite warm, with daytime temperatures regularly topping 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues. Heckemeyer hopes to produce butanol, which nearly packs the same energetic punch as natural gas. Growing sorghum is as simple as growing corn, and you can choose between growing grain sorghum (milo), sorghum varieties known as broom corn, or sweet sorghum for making into sorghum syrup. Survival Skills, Garden Planning, Seed Saving, Food Preservation, Natural Health – Dozens of courses, 100+ workshops, and interactive Q&As. You’ll need a shallow, rectangular pan that accommodates the amount of juice the batch begins with but that won’t let the syrup spread too thin as it cooks down, causing it to scorch. Up to a week before you press your sorghum, strip the leaves and seed heads from the stalks. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only). Already a Member? Growing Heirloom Sweet Sorghum A Quick Look at Some New Varieties By George Kuepper, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist with Bruce Branscum, Kerr Farm/Ranch Technician, and Melanie Zoeller, Kerr Center Executive Administrative Assistant Kerr Center for HEIRLOOM VARIETY TRIALS Sustainable Agriculture P.O. Sweet sorghum. In addition, there was a lot of silage planted in June and July. Growing sweet sorghum takes three months while planting and harvesting sugarcane, a major source of ethanol, lasts 10 to 11 months. This is a relatively early … After Dad passed away, I became determined that my children would continue to play a part in producing this delicious, homegrown, natural sweetener. The syrup is sometimes incorrectly referred to as 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. 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. Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant gardens in southwest Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and a few lucky chickens. Sweet sorghum grows as a cane from 6 to 10 feet tall and makes a cone-shaped seed head filled with BB-sized seeds. Plant breeding efforts continue to improve the cold tolerance of sorghum for growth in the Midwest. For more information on locating sorghum mills and the GrainMaker press, see “Equipment and More Info” at the end of this article. I loved the long day with family and friends, Dad readying the equipment, and Mom making sure everyone was fed. Ten gallons of sorghum juice will make approximately 1 gallon of syrup. Sign in with your online account. Broom corn varieties vary in the color of the seeds, which may be black, red, orange or white. National Sweet Sorghum Producers and Processors Association Sweet Sorghum Revival: How to Grow Your Own Natural Sweetener. 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. Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) is primarily grown for the sweet juice that is extracted from the plant’s stalks. Sweet As … To help us power the sorghum revival, our friends at GrainMaker are developing a smaller, hand-cranked mill that should be available in mid-2013. Sow seeds one-half inch deep and 4 inches apart, and thin to 8 inches apart when the seedlings are 4 inches tall. Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST). For most sorghum varieties, the maturity of the seed also marks the peak level of sugar content present in the juice. AGECON 99-055, Univ. 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. 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. Growing sorghum is a good choice as a rotation crop due to its high heat and moisture stress tolerance. It is relatively drought tolerant, has a high forage and ethanol yield per acre, has relatively low cost of production, is adaptable to no-till, has a co-product called bagasse that could be used for animal feed, and the crop itself could be used for silage if needed. Sweet sorghum is still used to make syrup in parts of the United States, since sorghum syrup is considered a traditional food, used in the same way that maple syrup is. Harvesting and Storage Even in warm climates, sorghum is customarily planted in late May or early June. You may want to look into making a group purchase, as these large mills are often expensive. 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. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. Don't miss the plans for a DIY sorghum press, submitted by a reader as a follow-up to the original printing of this article. growing period, short reaping and storing time are the main problems for biofuels. 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. Developing a new mill design for hand-crank sorghum processing. Already a Member but Follow us on facebook http://www.facebook.com/SurvivalHT Growing and Harvesting Sorghum for Livestock Feed. Already a Member? Prepare soil much as you would for corn, and be sure to mix a balanced organic fertilizer into the bed or row before planting. Now, gardeners are raising food-grade sorghums to mill into fresh, gluten-free flour for baking breads, pastas and other edibles, or brewing the grains for beer and other spirits. After your first sorghum harvest, you’ll be able to save enough seed for future plantings. (For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.). Drizzle sorghum syrup on warm biscuits or pancakes, add to muffin or gingerbread batters, or follow these recipes: Ooey-Gooey, Rich and Sweet Sorghum Caramels. 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. If you are growing rows of sorghum, the rows must be at least 3 … Learn techniques for growing sorghum and for processing your sorghum harvest into syrup for a healthy sugar alternative. Sweet As is a sweet sorghum x sweet sorghum variety that has high yield and sugar levels. When the canes are ready for harvest, call in friends and family — the harvest and processing steps will require extra hands on deck. A pan about 2 to 3 feet long and 1 to 2 feet wide would work well for cooking down 10 gallons of juice. We needed another ‘sweet’ option here on the farm too (we tap maple trees and have bee hives). Like corn, grains of sorghum go through an immature “milk” stage when a pierced kernel will bleed a milk-like juice. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only). Broom corn is a type of sorghum that holds its seeds on sturdy straws, perfect for trimming into brooms. Sweet sorghum is any of the many varieties of the sorghum grass whose stalks have a high sugar content. Contact Barbara by visiting her website or finding her on Google+. Everyone gathers around the flames to discuss how this batch was different from last year’s syrup, when we’ll see frost, and when we’ll have our first hard freeze. Immediately ladle the sorghum syrup into sterilized jars and screw on clean lids. When mature, canes are stripped of their leaves and seed heads and crushed, ... Before growing sorghum, consider the length of your growing season. International Subscribers - Click Here Shorter season: ‘Della,’ ‘Rox Orange’ (aka ‘Waconia’), ‘Sugar Drip’, Longer season: ‘Dale,’ ‘M81E,’ ‘White African’. Orders with all items in stock will ship in 3-4 business days, plus transit time. 859-873-8497; send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Send her your sorghum-making memories and recipes and she will post them on her blog, A Modern Missouri Homesteader. We’ve always called it ‘cane’ – sorghum is known by many names; sweet sorghum, sorghum cane and all are correct. Sorghum grows best where summers are quite warm, with daytime temperatures regularly topping 90 degrees Fahrenheit. 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. Sweet As is great for grazing and also makes excellent silage. Many farms are growing sorghum or sorghum species for the first time. Heirloom Okra and Green onion seed stock as well 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. We use a 12-inch-diameter, 6-foot-tall stovepipe. The ornamental tops also can be used in dried arrangements. These aren’t only old, nearly forgotten memories. It shouldn’t taste as raw as it does when it’s first squeezed from the stalk, and it should be thick like corn syrup (the hot syrup will be thinner than the final product). Survival Skills, Garden Planning, Seed Saving, Food Preservation, Natural Health – Dozens of courses, 100+ workshops, and interactive Q&As. Canadian Subscribers - Click Here Sorghum syrup is a 100 percent natural sweetener sometimes called “sorghum molasses,” as its flavor and uses are similar to those of molasses made from sugar cane. USPS First Class (under 1 pound) transit time … 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. Growers are also raising cane, so to speak: Sweet sorghum, sometimes called cane sorghum, yields a mild syrup similar in consistency to molasses. Hi, thanks for stopping by. Factors Influencing the Yield and Quality of Sorgo Sirup Produced in West Virginia , Bulletin 450, West Virginia University Agricultural Experiment Station, July 1961 Pile all of the canes facing the same direction, and transport these piles to your mill and processing site. Many grain sorghum varieties grow to only 5 feet tall, but sweet sorghum and broom corn plants can top 8 feet. Sandy soils in warm climates … Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST). Sweet Sorghum Productivity The productivity of Sweet Sorghum largely depends on many para-meters:-climatic condition (temperature, precipitation), soil quality, variety of Sweet Sorghum, agronomic practice. If you haven’t tried sweet sorghum syrup, you’re missing out. Sorghums are fast-growing, warm weather annuals that will provide plenty of feed in mid-summer when many other forages slow down. The final summer party of the year is coming to a close, replaced with dreams of baked sweet potatoes and hot biscuits smothered with butter and drizzled with sorghum syrup. Stalks are crushed and the extracted juice is cooked down to a thick, sticky syrup. Researchers in Iowa, Oklahoma and Texas have started converting sorghum into ethanol. If the saline-based land and the sorghum-growing land are used for cultivating sweet sorghum, then the planting areas would amount to 970 kha, producing 0.35 million tons of bioethanol. There is no rush to plant sorghum, which needs warm soil to germinate and grow.