A Lost Treasure...
Sweet West Virginia Sorghum
Sweet sorghum unites our love for making maple syrup and growing produce into one.
Like so many Appalachian traditions, growing Sorghum is quickly becoming a lost art. At Family Roots Farm, we are working to change that by sustainably expanding our sorghum production while educating our customers on another great local all-natural sweeter.
How do we do it?
As with maple syrup production, producing sorguhm is very labor intensive.
Planting: With a seed about the size of a beet, we hand sow the sweet sorghum seeds in about mid-June.
Maintaining: In 7-15 days, the sorghum will sprout through the ground. We will thin out by hand and over the next several weeks cultivate to limit weeds.
Harvesting: After 110 days, the sorghum is matured and ready to harvest. The stalks are well over 10 feet. We begin by "stripping" the stalks, removing all the leaves. The flowers on top are also cut off - some are saved for decor, seed, bird feed, etc. Then we cut and bundle our stalks with a corn bind.
Extraction: Now it is time to squeeze the juice from the stalks. With our sorghum press we begin to feed the stalks through, collected the juice. The juice is filtered and allowed to settle for at least 2 hours. It takes approximately 10 gallons of sorghum juice to make 1 gallon of sorghum.
Boiling: The sorghum is then boiled to evaporate the water (exactly like Maple Syrup!) We bring the sorghum up to about 226 degrees.
Finishing: Lastly we filter the sorghum and test the Brix using a refractometer. Our goal is to finish between 78-80 Brix. We cool the sorghum to 150 degrees and then bottle.
We would be more than happy to explain the process more in depth. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.