Thursday, September 25, 2008

What I learned #3

Good evening everyone!

It's getting darker earlier and earlier here in NW Indiana. The landscape is dotted with yellow trees. Though it's only the beginning of fall. In the fields near home down the road are acres of sorghum. At the festival, I've finally learned what they do with sorghum. I met a very nice ranger lady who was directing an old white workhorse in a circle. The horse was attached to a couple of wooden logs that were attached to a grinder. The grinder was used to squeeze sap from the stalks of sorghum. (Sorghum, if you don't know, looks a lot like corn stalks). Next, they take the juice of the stalks they squeezed out and pour it in a hot wide pan over wood fire to boil down and thicken, just like you do with maple syrup from the sugar maples in late winter. The liquid eventually turns into molasses, a sweeter the pioneers relied on here since sugar cane sugar was difficult to come by, especially in the winter when they settlers had to wait for months before they could get to town. When regular sugar crystallized and became hard to use, they would soften it with molasses and that's how brown sugar came about. They baked things like ginger snap cookies, which use molasses. That along with honey kept families in sweeteners through the long winters. I found it very interesting.

Well, have a good night my friends.


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