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It's Sorghum MakingTime

    Since I've posted so much about the arrival of the book I think I will devote this update to something different found around our beautiful state. Do you know the difference between sorghum and molasses? There is a difference. In Kentucky we make sorghum. Different counties around the state claim to produce only the best sorghum. There is even a Sorghum Festival in West Liberty each year.
     Not nearly as many farmers make sorghum these days. And no wonder, the process requires  special equipment and the skill of a good sorghum maker. My family always claimed that the very best sorghum can only come from Menifee County, Kentucky. Others claim Morgan County has the best. Some of the best we found  over in Casey County. Oberholtzer's is outstanding.  Each year during September and October as the sorghum "cane" plant reaches the peak of sweetness it is harvested and crushed to extract the sweet juice. The juice is then boiled to the right temperature to reduce the excess water, leaving the sticky, sweet product.
   At Oberholtzer's, wood fired boilers provide the constant heat to raise the juice to the proper temperature and cool down as the liquid flows through a series of troughs. Workers constantly "skim" away impurities and foam from the prize until this reduction process yields the precious sweet product.
    Just last week Edgar Williams was making his variety of sorghum just outside of Frenchburg, Ky. It seems that the seeds of a particularly good variety of the plant are kept each year. As a result, certain sorghum makers are known for their particular variety of the tasty product.

    This difference in sorghum and molasses is the type of plant they are made from. Molasses is made from the sugar cane plant while sorghum is made from the sorghum plant. Sugar cane does not grow as far north as Kentucky but the hearty sorghum plant does very well in this region. 


  1. I love the photo of the guy stirring the steaming sorghum lava. Nice post.

  2. Weak flavor, awfully blonde to be so thick, has an odd slickness to it. Not the rich, wonderful taste of a slow tilt run of sorghum I'm accustomed to.

  3. Can't argue with personal taste JT. A person should find some to their taste at the annual Sorghum Festivals in Morgan County, KY September 26-28 and Hancock County, KY October 25-27.

  4. Been to plenty of sorghum runs in the hills. The blondness and weakness comes from a faster, bulkier run. The thickness of unadulterated sorghum only comes single ingredient juice from a slow cook pan. Their ingredients (plural) are natural, but unlisted. Pectin and other thickeners are "all natural." This isn't dark enough to have been cooked to this thickness. It'll be ok for hot tea and lemon this winter. Thanks

  5. Good information. Thanks. I do want to be candid about the photograph depicting the very light, blonde appearance of the two jars of Oberholtzer's. The jars were placed just so the sunlight hit them from directly behind, which really gave them an extreme brightness. In fact, it was that lighting effect on this date, I suppose prompted me to jot this little blog post. I assure you JT, I have had some great sorghum from the mountains and try to find some each year. I appreciate your insights on the subject.

  6. I grew up around MT Sterling , my favorite sorghum is a light golden color as I remember as having a mild flavor . I am now 81 yrs. old and would still like to buy some of my favorite sorghum


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