Your grandpappy from the Deep South didn’t pour maple syrup on his hotcakes: maples need freezing cold nights to start the flow of sap that becomes syrup. No, sorghum was what sweetened all manner of foodstuffs way back when in the South, and now the old-fashioned sugar substitute is getting hot again. Hungry Beast’s Stacey Slate explains how sorghum is made:

“Sorghum syrup is actually a juice extract collected from a tall grass called sweet sorghum. Harvesters strip the leaves off the stalk and cut the seeds from the head of the plant. The stalks are then laid out to dry for a few days while the enzymes within the cane convert starches to sugar. When the stalk is dried out, it is crushed to extract its green juice (the liquid is green because of chlorophyll in the plant). It is then boiled down to eliminate moisture and skimmed to get rid of the green juice. The result is the amber syrup known as sweet sorghum.”

Yum! How do you use it? On pancakes and biscuits, in sweet sauces like barbecue, even in baked goods, where it makes a dandy substitute for molasses. Find out more about sorghum’s resurgence, including its impressive nutritional profile, and why it may someday be used for fuel, at the Hungry Beast.

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