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  1. #1
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    2007 New Holland TT45A, 1953 Farmall Super A, JD & Husqy Garden Tractors

    Default Making Sugar Cane Syrup

    When I was a child growing up in the 50's and 60's, one of my uncles had an annual "cane grinding". The smell of cooking sugar cane juice was one I will never forget. There would be dozens of people, all ages, at this event, and we would get to eat fresh ground sausage, homemade biscuits and pancakes, and of course, fresh cane syrup. Us kids would get to ride the mule who pulled the pole around in circles...now a tractor is used.

    One of my uncle's sons, has revived this tradition, and a few weeks ago, he made a fresh batch of syrup. I'm fixin' to fry some good hickory smoked bacon, make some french toast, and pour on the cane syrup. I didn't get to go to the event (I was picking up pecans) but one of my brother-in-law's brought me a quart bottle, which I promptly dropped and busted. He gave me another bottle, and it was good.

    I'm makin' it here in the country outside this little ole town of Blackshear in south Georgia.

    walkin2e

  2. #2
    Epic Contributor Bird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Sugar Cane Syrup

    That sounds like a fun tradition, well worth reviving.
    Bird

  3. #3
    Epic Contributor
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    jinman's Avatar
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    Texas - Wise County - Sunset
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    Default Re: Making Sugar Cane Syrup

    Man-o-man! That sure brings back some memories. Back in the late 50s and early 60s, I also had an uncle who grew sugar cane and made his own syrup. When he started growing the cane, he didn't have a mill or cooker and had to haul his cane by truck to east Texas to get it milled and cooked off. It didn't take him long to figure out that he needed to set up his own mill and process the cane onsite.

    About 1959, he bought an Allis-Chalmers tractor with a big belt drive hub on the side. He also found a cane mill he could drive with a belt. We built a platform for the mill about 4' off the ground so he could stack the cane around it and one person on the ground could keep the platform supplied with cane while someone on the platform fed cane into the mill. The juice dropped down to a sump and drained into big 55 gallon barrels as holding tanks. The barrels had a feed pipe going to the cooker with a valve to adjust for a slow, but constant feed.

    The cooker was a galvanized pan with zig-zag sections made so the juice would cook as it moved from the front of the pan to the rear. With the correct temperature and feed, cooked syrup flowed out the far end of the cooker at a constant rate. One person filled sterilized quart and pint jars with the syrup as it flowed out.

    To build the cooker, we built a chimney with two rows (walls) of brick out in front for 12 feet and maybe 18" high. Between the brick walls we put white sugar sand that had been dug out of a neighbor's pond. The white sand was a perfect heat reflector. We set the cooker pan down on the brick walls, creating a void below it for the burner. The burner ran off of natural gas we plumbed in from my uncle's house about 150' feet away.

    The perfect setup for the mill was to have two people feeding cane, one person running the cooker, and one person with a skimmer cleaning the foam off the top of the syrup as it cooks. If things went smoothly, the skimmer could also fll the jars.

    I'll never forget how that green sweet liquid smelled and tasted. I used to tell my friends to close their eyes until they got used to it. Many people just could not stand the way the raw juice looked. As it weaved its way down the cooker, the skimmings rose to the top and the juice turned from green to a clear amber to dark amber as it cooked to perfection. My uncle listened to the bubbles popping to tell him when the juice was syrup and ready to bottle.

    When I saw the title of this thread, those smells and tastes just popped back into my head. I'll never forget the strong sweet taste of that sugar cane syrup and my uncle telling customers, "You won't have to chase this syrup around your plate with your biscuit like that store-bought stuff." He was right.
    Jim


  4. #4
    Super Member
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    Shingle Springs California
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    New Holland TC40D

    Default Re: Making Sugar Cane Syrup

    We were in Costa Rica a year ago. Went to an Eco farm for a tour. The owner, grew sugar cane. But, he fermented some of it, for a really nice liquor.
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Making Sugar Cane Syrup

    Sorta like this?

    My BIL has done the annual "Sorghum Festival and Old-Timer's Day" every year in October. That's him in the straw hat and zztop beard in the cookhouse. He missed last year due to the crappy economy and poor cane crop.

    - Jay
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -mill-cookhouse1web-jpg  

  6. #6
    New Member
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    Default Re: Making Sugar Cane Syrup

    Quote Originally Posted by JRobyn View Post
    Sorta like this?

    My BIL has done the annual "Sorghum Festival and Old-Timer's Day" every year in October. That's him in the straw hat and zztop beard in the cookhouse. He missed last year due to the crappy economy and poor cane crop.

    - Jay
    Now that paints a purty picture!

    That fresh cane juice had two drawbacks..it would attract yellow jackets, and if you drank too much, you had to find an outhouse mighty fast.

    walkin2e

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Making Sugar Cane Syrup

    Here's the cookhouse showing the "serpentine" cookpan. He had some guys fab his up out of stainless!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -cookhouse2_web-jpg  

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Making Sugar Cane Syrup

    Quote Originally Posted by walkin2e View Post
    Now that paints a purty picture!

    That fresh cane juice had two drawbacks..it would attract yellow jackets, and if you drank too much, you had to find an outhouse mighty fast.

    walkin2e
    You got that right!!

    And as if the juice didn't draw enough, all the food (desserts especially) that everyone brought attracted all the more! He'd always have a group of guys from his plant come up and stay up all night the night before cooking the whole hog, fresh-fried chitlins, and 20 gallon iron pots of greens and beans! Yum.

    - Jay
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -foodline_web-jpg  

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Making Sugar Cane Syrup

    Quote Originally Posted by Bird View Post
    That sounds like a fun tradition, well worth reviving.
    Absolutely!!! Sounds like a lot of fun that the children today shouldn't have to miss out on!


    I've never tried cane syrup, but I bet it'd be good on fried mush.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member JohnDeere4300's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making Sugar Cane Syrup

    There is a 92 year old man about two miles from my house that does it every year,(I HOPE THIS YEAR) when he starts we all try and help him out, people come from different counties to watch.

    He's the only one around that still does it, me and my wife have talked about getting in to it, here is a place where you can buy different kinds of Sorghum seeds.


    *Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds________www.Rareseeds.com*
    John 3:16

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