Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Morning Coming Down

On our road trip Friday, to visit Old Cookstove Restaurant, we stopped by Dutch Bakery, also
run by Mennonites. On the door was a sign advertising Sorghum Syrup. This was a staple in our house when I was growing up. In the winter time, we often had buttered biscuits and Sorghum Syrup for breakfast. My Mother would make Sorghum Syrup cake to take to the cotton patch for our lunch.

Here is what Wikipedia says about Sorghum:  Sweet sorghum has been widely cultivated in the U.S. since the 1850s for use in sweeteners, primarily in the form of sorghum syrup. By the early 1900s, the U.S. produced 20 million US gallons (76,000 m3) of sweet sorghum syrup annually. Making syrup from sorghum (as from sugar cane) is heavily labor intensive. Following World War II, with the declining availability of farm labor, sorghum syrup production fell drastically. Currently, less than 1 million US gallons (3,800 m3) are produced annually in the U.S. Most sorghum grown for syrup production is grown in Alabama,ArkansasGeorgiaIowaKentuckyMississippiNorth Carolina, and Tennessee.

I know it is hard to see in the following photo(You can find others on line) the cane was fed into a crusher which
was powered by mules. The mules went around in a circle turning the handles on this crusher. The juice of
the plant was extracted and then cooked to evaporate the liquid, a syrup was the result.

This is a photograph from my archives. An Aunt of my Mother's used the
photograph to paint a picture of the Johnson family working their
syrup maker. This was one way my great grandfather earned a living for his family.
He would use his machine and mules to grind the syrup cane produced by other farmers
in the community.
This photo shows even the young children in the family were involved in the process. The
cooking syrup and the fire were very dangerous. I have seen the results of burns caused
by getting too close. 

Sorghum Syrup is one of the simple country pleasures 
I remember from my childhood...


  1. Sounds like a great trip. Thank you for sharing the history.

  2. Fun trip and going down memory lane... I never knew that sorghum had been used for syrup...

  3. Beautiful memories. I'm sure a wonderful smell as well.

  4. We eat a lot of Sorghum but it is store bought. I can still taste the homemade sorghum that grandmother used to get. No idea where but did not taste anything like the stuff we have to buy in the jar... I love going down memory lane.... sometimes makes me homesick...

  5. What a wonderful and interesting post. Made my mouth water. Love your photos.

  6. I remember my granddaddy making syrup one time. Grandmother constantly warned us not to get to close! What a wonderful memory!