Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sorghum Making Time

I had mentioned in my last post about going to Kentucky to visit my mom and family. I had a great time, and when I left to come home, I came home with a most precious commodity. Two quarts of home grown and home made Sorghum Molasses!!! That is some precious stuff!! My brother helps a man make it each year. Of course, it does help having an insider to supply your Sorghum. ggg

It is just about Sorghum making time. It has to be done before the sorghum cane is frosted on. So, there really is a short window of harvesting, pressing, and cooking. If you happen to be a benefactor of the real deal, real Sorghum Molasses, that has not been cut with sugar cane, it is absolutely amazing. A lot of the cookers have got to where they will cut the mixture with sugar cane, I'm guessing to stretch the product, otherwise, there is no reason to EVER add sugar cane to sorghum cane. When I buy sorghum at a store, any store, if it has been cut with high fructose corn syrup or sugar cane, back it goes to the store. If you know what the real deal tastes like, then you can quickly tell the difference. "That mess ain't worth bringin' home!" I know there are a lot of people that will quickly disagree, but, we all have opinions, and these are mine. gggg

This time of year always reminds me of the good days of my younger years. This is a story that I wrote about Sorghum days in the country. I hope you enjoy.

Sorghum Making in the Country

There was an elder gentleman, and I'm sorry to say, that I can't remember his name. I can still see him and his wife in my mind. A really sweet and jolly couple. They loved people and especially children. They really loved my dad and all of us. When dad was a little “scoundrel”, he knew them well. Oh, Mr. and Mrs. Beliles was their names. They were good friends with mamaw and papaw and they helped each other out in the olden days. I'm talking about seventy years or eighty ago, at least. Through the years they remained friends. So, this couple grew lots of sorghum.

Every year in the fall, dad would watch the calendar and when it got to be sorghum making time, he would go get mama and papaw and then stop and pick up the rest of us and head off way back in the country. It was on one of those little dirt roads that once you got on it, you set your clock back in time at least fifty years. You did not see anything that even looked remotely new. You would see skeletons of the real early pieces of machinery just setting by the road and collecting more rust with each passing day. A child's mind would wonder to what kind of prehistoric creature that was. I asked one time, only to find out it was a dead piece of machinery.

Well after what seemed to be many, many miles we finally reached our destination. Mr. and Mrs. Beliles farm. They had a huge farm. Most of it was bottom land on the Mud River. If it didn't flood in the crop growing season, they had a good crop. If it flooded during harvest season, it didn't matter whether they had a good crop or not, they didn't get it out. So, they was really at the mercy of the river.

It was on the river side that they had their sorghum making equipment set up. They had what they called a water house that they could wash and keep everything clean. They had a spring that run year around with the most sparkling water. As compared to the water in the river which was muddy all the time and that's where its name came from.

It was amazing to watch Mr. Beliles' mule walk around and around non stop for hours at a time crushing the sorghum that was hand fed into the grinder. Then at the other end watching this green juice come from the spout that was catching the juice. Then this juice would make its way to this huge flat vat and the cooking process would start. There were several different stages of making the sorghum. The stage that we waited for was when the sorghum had cooked and it was then run out into these large stands. I remember the really big lard can stands that dad would buy at the store full of lard. That's the size these stands were. They were probably eighteen to twenty inches tall and maybe twelve to fifteen inches across.

They would put the sorghum in those stands to cool down enough so they could pour them up in smaller containers. They usually had gallon, half gallon, and quart sized containers. When they got the large stands empty, that is when the fun for the kids started. They kept aside lots and lots of short sorghum stalks. They cut them down to about a foot in length.

All the adult men on site were helping. The ladies were watching all the children. Mamaw and Papaw visited with all the older people gathered there. The men would get a large stand empty and hand it to one of the kids and a short sorghum stalk. OHHHHH man you talking about something good!! We would get to scrape every last tell tale sign of sorghum out of that can with our sorghum stick. We would lick and smack on those sticks and guard our cans from a stray finger off someone elses hand trying to get a taste. I would really bristle up if anyone tried to sneak a taste from mine.

Before it was over and time to go home I would be covered with sorghum from head to toe. I had this mass of golden hair that went half way down my back that would be so matted and sticky. But everyone of us was the same way. Dad would take the boys down to the river and let them jump in and get it all washed off them. Mom would take me to the fresh water spring and wash me up. Boy, that water was sooooo cold. But it felt good and tasted good. And mom was just happy she didn't have to wash all that stuff off me when we got home. By the time we left, we were all dry anyway.

It was always great to know that for a while, we would have a lasting treat. Because we always left with one of those large stands of fresh homemade sorghum. There's nothing like a fresh homemade biscuit, piping hot, with homemade butter, and covered with sorghum.

Keep your eyes peeled this fall, you just may see someone or find out where there is someone in your states, counties, or communities making sorghum. If you do, think back to simpler times and a simpler way of life where sorghum making was a community affair and the more the better.(written by:pjg-08-13)

I hope and pray that this has brought back memories of when you were younger and life was simpler. A time when we had time for one another. A time when it took longer to do anything that was done, but, we still had time for the things that mattered in life. I pray that for us today, we will still keep the things that truly matter, first and foremost in our lives. For me, it is God first, husband, family, friends, country and world. I pray that my priorities are correct in the eyes of God. And sometimes, depending on the need, they may shift a little, but I try to make sure God always stays at the top. Try to keep God at the top of your list, because I guarantee you, you are at the top of His!!!

Watch out for a second part of this story. I will have a few recipes to share also.

Hugs and blessings beyond measure, Patty

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