Yesterday, we cut down about a third of the row of sorghum cane.
We stripped off the leaves and cut off the seed heads.
Next, it was time to squeeze the juice out of the canes. Here are some of the canes.
My husband took pity on me and we decided we would purchase a sugar cane juicer. I had tried my Champion juicer and that was NOT going to work. This new device will take about 4 years to pay for itself, and I hope I live that long!
Here he is running the machine.
There is a pan with a screen on top of it that collects the juice. Then you get it out through a little brass spigot.
Next, I boiled the juice down. It took HOURS. Typically, people that do this do it outside in a huge shallow stainless pan over a fire. Not only does that make it faster, but it saves having to use electricity. Maybe next year I'll do it outside.
Once it turned into syrup, I turned it off and poured it into a Pyrex pitcher and let it sit all night to cool. I was afraid I might scorch it, but next time, I think I'll probably continue to cook it for a while and just tend it constantly at the end so it will be thicker. This syrup is slightly thicker than maple syrup. It is really different in taste, but we think it is delicious!
From 10 liters of juice we got a little over 1 liter of syrup. Most of it I put into an empty maple syrup bottle that holds a quart, and the rest you can see in the glass bottle here. Since I am not canning it, I will keep it in the refrigerator. The syrup I have purchased in the past did not need to be refrigerated. I just want to make sure.
And here is my husband's breakfast of Belgian waffles!
I believe this was a success. We will wait for a few weeks and process the rest of the sorghum cane then. I found out after it was too late that they typically process it later in the year.
Sorghum syrup has an impressive nutritional profile, too. That's a good thing!