Cooking Sorghum Syrup

Sorghum 2011


Sorghum stalks in the trailer. The tops have been cut off so the stalks are ready to feed into the mill. At this point we had leaves on the stalks. Later we removed the leaves because they were funneling some juice out of the mill inlet. The crushing process seems to go a little smoother if most of the leaves are off. We usually strip the leaves from standing stalks.
Our mill was made in the 1920s or 1930s and is a Goldens #2. It was designed to be turned by two horses. We just hooked a riding mower to the pole. The mill has one large roller and two small rollers so each stalk of cane is crushed twice, squeezing out the green juice.
A stalk of sorghum being fed into the mill. This stalk still has the leaves. This is a small stalk.
The mill is mounted on a trailer. One person feeds cane, and the other drives the lawn tractor. This photo is a later in the day, and we have stripped the leaves from the cane.
The juice is strained into a pan before we pour it into the kettle for cooking. The cooking boils off the water concentrating the juice into syrup.
The juice is really green. As the juice boils we skim off foam leaving behind a dark, amber syrup.
Here Brenda is getting ready to stir the juice. This year we used an antique copper kettle designed for apple butter.
Cooking the juice down into syrup takes several hours.