Sorghum Syrup

Sorghum Syrup is made from sweet sorghum, a particular variety naturally high in sugar.

Sorghum is a type of grass that came originally from Africa but is now grown in America. It grows well in arid climates and is very drought resistant. The method of production is very similar to sugar cane. The stems are stripped of leaves and the canes are crushed to extract the juice. This is filtered and boiled down into the syrup.

It is about as sweet as ordinary sugar and is always in a liquid state that has a viscosity similar to honey. It is usually fairly dark brown in color with a pleasant but slightly sour molasses flavor. It can be used as a sweetener on its own or as an ingredient in cooking. It was traditionally poured over hot biscuits.

It's glycemic index is about 50, slightly lower than sugar.

A typical breakdown would be:

Sugar Percentage
Sucrose 46%
Water 22.5%
Glucose 16%
Fructose 13%
Ash 2.5%

1.USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
2. Ethanol Producer's Database

Sorghum Syrup a natural unprocessed product. Unlike refined sugar no chemicals are used in its manufacture. It has a unique taste and is very useful in cooking. Like molasses it is a source of certain minerals including calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc. It also contains B vitamins.

It is mostly sugar and water. Therefore, if taken in excess, it can cause all of the same problems as sugar, i.e. tooth decay, diabetes, and obesity. For this reason it should be counted as part of the daily intake of refined sugar, and moderation exercised. Unlike Honey or Agave Syrup most of the sugar is sucrose.

Safety Guidelines:
The World Health Organization recommend no more than 50gm refined sugar (about 12 small teaspoons) per day for an average adult and are considering reducing this to 25gm. This would apply to all sugars including Honey and Sorghum Syrup.

WHO guideline for a healthy diet.

It is a natural product produced from sorghum cane. The stems are stripped of leaves and crushed to extract the juice. This is filtered and boiled down into the syrup. The raw juice needs to be reduced by about 90% so 10 gallons of juice are needed to produce 1 gallon of syrup. No chemicals or enzymes are used in the process, it is a totally natural product and includes all the goodness of Sorghum except the fiber.

Sold As:
Different grades of Sorghum Syrup. It is getting more scarce and difficult to source, even online.

How Expensive?
It's reasonably expensive. It's bulk price is about 4.5 times the price of sugar by volume. A 16 fl oz jar can be purchased online for about $8 less shipping.

Market Share:
It's market share as a sweetener would be virtually zero and sadly declining. It has a strong nostalgic appeal, though future generations are unlikely to keep this going. 

Interesting facts:
Used to be very popular in the southern states of America, but has been replaced by other sugars. It is still a well loved tradition, and is often produced in smaller amounts by enthusiasts rather than true farmers. The stems are very tough so a strong mill is required. Old horse driven mills are still available second hand and can be driven by a ride on mower. Great fun and a fantastic way to spend the day with family and friends.

Like honey each batch has a unique and different flavor depending on the weather, the cooking process and the sorghum itself.

See: Making Sorghum

Does not require approval.


Conclusions for Sorghum Syrup

It is a natural product and is fine in moderation. However it is just another form of sugar. Care needs to be taken to avoid excessive consumption. Not suitable for diabetics. Should be used in place of, not in addition to, ordinary sugar. Has some nutrients but none of the medicinal or antiseptic qualities of honey.

Name Calories / Gram Sweetness Index Glycemic Index Calories / Spoon-Equiv
Sorghum Syrup 4 1.1 50 15

Taste: -------- Good
Aftertaste: ---- No
Concerns: ----- Yes

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