What’s the difference between sorghum and molasses? How does sorghum grow? In fact, what is sorghum to begin with?
This tall, broad-leaf plant resembles corn in the field, but the grain crop is best known for its end product: sweet sorghum syrup. That’s different than plain old sugar cane, which yields molasses, or, for that matter, the trees that yield maple syrup.
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Sorghum cane is typically harvested during September and October. Many sorghum syrup producers extract the juice from freshly cut plants right in the field. The bright green juice then goes back to the mill, where it is kept, heated, in a holding tank. To avoid spoilage and produce the best syrup, they cook it the next day, thickening into light amber syrup that is then bottled. Ten gallons of raw sorghum juice yields about 1 gallon of syrup.
One tablespoon of sorghum syrup supplies 200 mg of potassium, 6 percent of the recommended daily value for the average adult. It’s also high in antioxidants, contains 300 mg of protein, 30 mg of calcium, 20 mg of magnesium and 11 mg of phosphorus – all in 1 tablespoon. In fact, it is 100 percent natural and contains no chemical additives of any kind. (Look for the “Sweet Sorghum” logo to ensure you’re purchasing 100 percent pure sweet sorghum.)
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Store sorghum as you would honey, at room temperature. If it begins to crystallize, put it in a pan of warm water or nuke it in the microwave. In fact, you can use sorghum as a substitute for honey (in recipes that don’t use baking powder). When substituting sorghum in place of sugar, use 1/3 more sorghum than the amount of sugar called for in the recipe and decrease the amount of liquids by 1/3. When using sorghum instead of molasses, use an equal amount of sorghum but cut the amount of sugar, since sorghum is sweeter than molasses.