Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sorghum is on its way back

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Sorghum grain
Check out the New York Times' food section today. It includes a piece by Kim Severson about the resurgence of sorghum syrup, the once ubiquitous Southern sweetener.

Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch is the main source on the story, although Richard Blais is also mentioned for the sorghum "popcorn" he serves at HD1.

Severson writes:

As Mr. Hopkins and other vanguards of the new Southern table will tell you, real small-batch sorghum is hard to find. Even in Atlanta, the Deep South’s capital, specialty shops like Star Provisions are the only reliable suppliers.

It’s not that sorghum isn’t growing in the region. The United States exports more sorghum than any other country, and most of it comes from the South. The grain is used for cattle feed, flour (increasingly popular with the gluten-free set) and, like corn, for ethanol.

Making sorghum syrup is decidedly a country pursuit. The quality depends on how well the syrup is skimmed, how long it’s cooked and the source of heat. A wood fire, the method of cooking sorghum that many Southern chefs remember seeing when they were children, produces a smokier product.

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