Sorghum Syrups

Sorghum syrup, also known as sorgo, is made from the juice of the sorghum plant that is related to the sugar cane. The finished syrup flavor is similar to that of cane syrup but has a sharper tang. Some sorghum syrups exhibit a strong, distinctive flavor. For this reason, blends of sorghum and corn syrup are found to be preferred by some (62).

Although sorghum has been grown for grain and animal feed for many centuries, syrup production is a relatively recent use that began in the United States shortly before the Civil War. In 1859, nearly 7 million gallons (26 million L) were produced, increasing to 28 million gallons by 1879 (63). By 1938, production had decreased to about 15 million gallons annually. Today, only 1 to 2 million gallons are produced each year. Much of this sorghum syrup is produced by small-scale producers for local consumption. Because of the fragmented nature of the market, it is difficult to obtain an accurate measure of the amount of sorghum syrup produced.

Although many variations exist on the process for sorghum syrup production, typically the sorghum plants are topped and the leaves are removed from the canes. The juice is then pressed from the canes, usually in a roller mill essentially like the mills used for crushing sugar cane. A ton of sorghum yields enough juice to produce between 10 and 20 gallons (38 and 76 L) of finished syrup, depending on the growing and crushing conditions as well as the sorghum variety grown. Sweet sorghum varieties yield more syrup than forage varieties.

Table 9. Price Comparisons between Molasses and No. 2 Yellow Corn
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