Listen To This Blog- Click Play
When you visit the Smoky Mountains, there is a chance you will come across sorghum syrup while in a breakfast restaurant. One of the places that are most known for making this sweet treat is a little community called Muddy Pond. During the months of August through November, you can venture around Cades Cove and see how the syrup is made. Here are 4 things to know about the Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill:
1. Live Festivals
The season for producing sorghum syrup is August through November. During this time, the Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill puts on live demonstrations in Cades Cove. Come out to watch Mark and Sherry Guenther give you a detailed overview of how the syrup is made. While the horses and mules are turning the press, Mark puts the cane in the mill to squeeze the juice out. He then boils the juice down to make the sorghum syrup. The goal with the live festivals and demonstrations is to keep the heritage of sorghum making alive. In order to see when the couple will next be in Cades Cove, be sure to check out their festival calendar.
2. The Production Process
Starting in the mid-1960s, the Guenther family began making sorghum syrup with others in the community. In the 1980s, they decided to start their own family operation. Since then, members of the family have all contributed in making the mill run to perfection. The process of producing the syrup is a lot of work and includes firing the boiler, collecting wood, filling containers, and labeling jars. In the early days of production, the family cut all of the sorghum cane by hand. However, once the demand for the syrup increased, they started harvesting with a machine that is pulled behind a tractor. The machine cuts the cane, presses the juice, and pumps it into the tank. After that, the tank of juice is taken to the mill and pumped into a holding tank, where it is preheated and boiled. Finally, it is steamed by a wood-fired locomotive boiler before being cooled and bottled when it is ready to be sold.
3. How to Purchase Sorghum Syrup
There are a couple of different ways that you can get your hands on your own bottle of homemade sorghum syrup. One of those ways is to visit Cades Cove when they are having one of their live demonstrations. After you watch the couple make the syrup, you have the opportunity to purchase a bottle or two to take with you on the road. You will be amazed by the difference there is in homemade syrup versus what you may find in the grocery store. The other option to purchase syrup from the Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill is by ordering from their online store.
4. How People Use Sorghum Syrup
Sorghum syrup has a similar consistency to molasses, but it is made using sorghum cane rather than sugar cane. For generations, sorghum was served as the main table sweetener in Southern homes and businesses. However, in the 1900s, white sugar became much more widely available and affordable. Today, it can be a challenge to find sorghum syrup. However, you can get your hands on it, it goes perfectly with pancakes, grits, hot cereals, and so much more! Since the Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill is located in Tennessee, it is easier to find this delicious treat.
Watching the Muddy Pond Sorghum demonstration is just one of the many great things you can do when you visit Cades Cove. Be sure to check out all the other activities to try out when you visit the Smoky Mountains!