Over the last couple of weeks I have been documenting various sugar-cane boils. Thus far we have made syrup with Marcus in the Florida Panhandle, with Danny and Wanda in Mississippi, and then, on this Saturday, with Ben White in Lower Alabama.
There is a lot of history in making cane syrup, and plenty of stories told around the pots of thickening syrup.
Here’s our first boil, with Marcus:
That was a wonderful day, with lots of good conversation and sweet syrup. Marcus was a wealth of knowledge.
Then, last week, I headed over to Mississippi for a day to make cane syrup at the Deep South Homestead with Danny and Wanda.
As I shot these, I made a deliberate attempt to let the players tell their own stories and share what they knew, creating more of a documentary feel than a vlog approach.
Danny’s method of boiling greatly differed from Marcus’, as he used a small two-pan stove to make a couple of gallons of syrup, rather than a 90-gallon pot. It’s more approachable on the backyard scale.
Though really, the big limiting factor in making cane syrup is actually crushing the cane. Extracting juice from sugar cane takes a lot of torque. The crushing power needed is incredible.
In the next sugarcane video I’m releasing, you’ll see an antique grinder powered by a log splitter. It’s a brilliant system – but still, the main grinder is an antique.
Finding a new grinder is difficult. There is a lot of Chinese junk on Amazon and elsewhere, but the syrup-makers I’ve seen so far stick to the older mills, such as the ones made by Golden’s and the Chattanooga Plow Corp.
I am now in the hunt for a mill myself, if anyone has a lead. We’re planting lots of sugarcane right now.
And speaking of that, here’s my brand-new video on how we’re planting cane!
This weekend I have yet another cane boil to attend with yet a different cooking method.
This is the time to learn these methods, before times get tougher. A little sugar goes a long way. I’ve had a blast meeting people and learning as I go. Thank you for coming along on the ride.
David, a friend of mine grew up in Southern Brazil, and she talked about going to the market after school and buying cane so she could pay the guy with the cane press to make juice. I don’t know if that is helpful.
Trapiche de Caña is the Spanish for it, and they make them and sell them in Mexico and Colombia. I expect shipping and import fees to be steep.
I believe the Colombian government subsidizes press manufacture because it is part of their agricultural development plans.
You can try the classified ads over at the NSPPA website: https://nssppa.org/classified-ads
Great article. Looking forward to seeing your next cane syrup video.
Thank you – I am editing it now!