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Anyone make sorghum syrup?


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Does anyone make sorghum syrup or know about it?

We are planning to grow sweet sorghum and make sorghum syrup next year. We think it will complement our honey sales.

I bought a pair of sorghum presses (both need work) at auction. I will need an evaporation pan. 

When I was a little kid I watched dad's friend making it. By the time I was old enough to help he quit.

Thx-Ace 

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Yes I have made it.  Growing up my grandfather always did.  It is a lot of work, but neat.  

I have tried different options to power my presses.  I like using a hydraulic motor.

There are several versions of pans you can make, depending on how many gallons you want to process at time.

Be glad to talk with you and help in any way.  What kind of "presses" did you get?  We call them mills.

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1 hour ago, acem said:

Does anyone make sorghum syrup or know about it?

We are planning to grow sweet sorghum and make sorghum syrup next year. We think it will complement our honey sales.

I bought a pair of sorghum presses (both need work) at auction. I will need an evaporation pan. 

When I was a little kid I watched dad's friend making it. By the time I was old enough to help he quit.

Thx-Ace 

When you do, put me down for a jar.

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welcome to the sorghum world. I too grow and process sorghum in SMALL amounts. Usually enough for table use and cookies for the year. I use the pully on the Farmall Super A  to power mine. Runs a little fast but it works. I use Dale sorghum seed. Growing is easy. I cut heads off stalk at 110 days and strip leaves a couple days before squeezing juice at mill. Be SURE TO PUT BUT END OF STALK INTO MILL FIRST. You could bust mill by doing it opposite. Be sure to strain liquid before starting to cook. Cooking is not hard, just boil the liquid down to syrup and remove from fire. Knowing when to pull from fire will take experience. Too soon and will be thin. Too late will be burnt. There used to be materials from the University of Kentucky that you could ask for on how to make sorghum. If I can be of help Please let me know. I think e-mail is always open here.  Pembroke

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9 minutes ago, littlered166 said:

welcome to the sorghum world. I too grow and process sorghum in SMALL amounts. Usually enough for table use and cookies for the year. I use the pully on the Farmall Super A  to power mine. Runs a little fast but it works. I use Dale sorghum seed. Growing is easy. I cut heads off stalk at 110 days and strip leaves a couple days before squeezing juice at mill. Be SURE TO PUT BUT END OF STALK INTO MILL FIRST. You could bust mill by doing it opposite. Be sure to strain liquid before starting to cook. Cooking is not hard, just boil the liquid down to syrup and remove from fire. Knowing when to pull from fire will take experience. Too soon and will be thin. Too late will be burnt. There used to be materials from the University of Kentucky that you could ask for on how to make sorghum. If I can be of help Please let me know. I think e-mail is always open here.  Pembroke

I'm interested in a few of your comments.  First:  about but end of the stalk.  I usually run mine in from the top end first.  I don't overstuff my mill.  I usually only run 2-3 stalks through at a time.  How can it bust the mill?  I grow Dale variety as well.  some others will grow taller but lodging is more of a problem.  I cook mine to 226 F this year.  I just use an instant read thermometer.  Don't touch the bottom of the cook pan or that throws off the reading.  I might go to 228 next year as I thought mine was a little more runny than I like.  The other thing I learned this year is to not cook it to fast.  The green stuff takes a little time to float to the surface and get skimmed off.  My first batch this year I cooked to fast.  The good news is that you can almost always correct it.  I just tossed the first batch into the second batch and recooked it.  Also, if a batch is to runny, then just cook it longer.  To thick, add some water and try again.  Its pretty forgiving that way.

And, watch the temp as it gets close to being finished.  The syrup will want to foam up and boil over depending on your cook pans.

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A friend of mine makes it every year goes back to his great grandfather making it he built a processor so he can cut and squeeze it out in the field and just bring the juice back to the cook shack leaves the mess in the field makes a lot of syrup every year ships it all over the USA    

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27 minutes ago, Siefring Red Farmer said:

I'm interested in a few of your comments.  First:  about but end of the stalk.  I usually run mine in from the top end first.  I don't overstuff my mill.  I usually only run 2-3 stalks through at a time.  How can it bust the mill?  I grow Dale variety as well.  some others will grow taller but lodging is more of a problem.  I cook mine to 226 F this year.  I just use an instant read thermometer.  Don't touch the bottom of the cook pan or that throws off the reading.  I might go to 228 next year as I thought mine was a little more runny than I like.  The other thing I learned this year is to not cook it to fast.  The green stuff takes a little time to float to the surface and get skimmed off.  My first batch this year I cooked to fast.  The good news is that you can almost always correct it.  I just tossed the first batch into the second batch and recooked it.  Also, if a batch is to runny, then just cook it longer.  To thick, add some water and try again.  Its pretty forgiving that way.

And, watch the temp as it gets close to being finished.  The syrup will want to foam up and boil over depending on your cook pans.

Depending on the distances between the crusher rollers ( 3/8 inch between entry rollers and 1/8 between exit rollers) too many but ends at one time could cause the mill to bust as most of the earlier mills were cast iron. I cook mine at a hard boil until syrup starts to change a golden color and then I cut the temp to a slow boil or less until I get the right consistency. I use a wood spoon at this time to bring up a little on the spoon and let it drip off. If it starts to string I pull it off. If it's what they call batten (just hanging on the spoon and not stringing) I leave on fire just a few minutes longer. There are refractometers that will read syrup consistency also. The materials from University Of Kentucky will be of use to any one just starting to learn the process of making sorghum. Each person will have their own way of doing sorghum. Pick out which way you want to do it and have fun while your making sorghum.

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4 hours ago, littlered166 said:

Depending on the distances between the crusher rollers ( 3/8 inch between entry rollers and 1/8 between exit rollers) too many but ends at one time could cause the mill to bust as most of the earlier mills were cast iron. I cook mine at a hard boil until syrup starts to change a golden color and then I cut the temp to a slow boil or less until I get the right consistency. I use a wood spoon at this time to bring up a little on the spoon and let it drip off. If it starts to string I pull it off. If it's what they call batten (just hanging on the spoon and not stringing) I leave on fire just a few minutes longer. There are refractometers that will read syrup consistency also. The materials from University Of Kentucky will be of use to any one just starting to learn the process of making sorghum. Each person will have their own way of doing sorghum. Pick out which way you want to do it and have fun while your making sorghum.

So does it boil down similar to maple syrup? I’ve always been interested in the process but didn’t know anyone doing it.

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10 hours ago, littlered166 said:

Depending on the distances between the crusher rollers ( 3/8 inch between entry rollers and 1/8 between exit rollers) too many but ends at one time could cause the mill to bust as most of the earlier mills were cast iron. I cook mine at a hard boil until syrup starts to change a golden color and then I cut the temp to a slow boil or less until I get the right consistency. I use a wood spoon at this time to bring up a little on the spoon and let it drip off. If it starts to string I pull it off. If it's what they call batten (just hanging on the spoon and not stringing) I leave on fire just a few minutes longer. There are refractometers that will read syrup consistency also. The materials from University Of Kentucky will be of use to any one just starting to learn the process of making sorghum. Each person will have their own way of doing sorghum. Pick out which way you want to do it and have fun while your making sorghum.

We call that "fleekin" with it hangs to the wooden paddle like that.

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Ace, you better check and see if sugar cane aphids are a problem in your area.  They can descimate a crop, and they're isn't anything labeled for sweet sorghum.

 

Weeds, we cultivate.  You can use some old corn Pre's, like Bicep.

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Needs to be planted in rows with a low enough population to get some size out of the stalks.

 

The aphids have gotten bad the last 3-4 years in TN and KY.  I think there is a lot more to attract them to sweep sorghum than to sudex.  Most sugar I guess.

Its neat.  I will try to get you some pictures.  I grew my first crop of it in 2008.  I even had a portable processing setup for a while.  Like you grow the cane, I come squeeze and cook it off over a long weekend.  Fun, but for sure no money in that.  Plus, it didn't meet state requirements for food processing for resale.

Somebody mentioned a refractometer, thats a good tool to invest in for cooking it off.

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2 hours ago, acem said:

Where do you get seed?

I'm wantn to plant about an acre next year.

Can I plant it with the milo drum in my cyclo planter?

What about weed/grass control? 

Thx-Ace 

E & R Seeds 

Monroe,Indiana

Should have it in bulk at a good price. Quality seed also.

But,they are Old Order. No website. Barely got phone. Send a request for a catalog

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3 hours ago, acem said:

Where do you get seed?

I'm wantn to plant about an acre next year.

Can I plant it with the milo drum in my cyclo planter?

What about weed/grass control? 

Thx-Ace 

I got my seed on the internet somewhere.  5lbs goes a long way.  An acre is a lot to harvest your first year.....  I put down some Dual for grass control.  My first planting didn't come up very well so I roundup'ed the patch and then planted into it again about 3 weeks after the first time.  It all came up the second time.  I had some velvet leaf but not much of anything else.  Except the darn morning glories that like to grow around the stalks.

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An acre is alot? Hum ill think on it.

Dual is good. I use it on beans. You should be able to control morning glories (broadleaf) in sorghum. I have trouble with them in my soybeans though. 

Thx-Ace 

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1 hour ago, acem said:

An acre is alot? Hum ill think on it.

Dual is good. I use it on beans. You should be able to control morning glories (broadleaf) in sorghum. I have trouble with them in my soybeans though. 

Thx-Ace 

I think the dual had something to do with the poor emergence the first time.  

An acre is a lot depending on how you harvest and what your level of commitment is to this.  

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