Mantachie High School agriculture students have spent this week harvesting, cooking down, and bottling sorghum molasses.
Agriculture instructors Joe Rogers and Matt Spradling said this year’s crop did not produce as much as it has in the past which is ultimately affecting the amount Mantachie FFA has to offer to public buyers.
“We typically produce around 100 gallons, but this year it looks like around 30 gallons,” Rogers said. “We had some storm damage to our crop and that affected our yield.”
Mantachie High School has been making and selling sorghum to the public since Rogers first came to the school in 2005. Rogers and Spradling arrive early to the school to get the fire started for cooking, while 8th through 12th graders continue the cooking and processing throughout the day.
Each year, this program provides a hands-on learning experience for its students which Rogers says is more likely to stick with them throughout their lives post high school.
“They’re learning to work together out here, learning hand-on skills,” Rogers said in a 2019 interview with the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. “They’ll never forget this kind of thing.”
Rogers explained that it takes roughly 10 gallons of sorghum juice to produce 1 gallon of syrup.
The 30 gallons they’ve managed to produce is still enough to generate $1,440 in sales to help fund next year’s crop. The program has many loyal customers who see to it that there are no leftovers at the end of each season.
While most folks say, and rightly so, that sorghum molasses is best enjoyed over hot, homemade buttermilk biscuits, in truth, there are endless uses for this sticky, sweet treat.
Sorghum molasses can be used as a sweetener in place of honey or regular white sugar in most recipes, adding a richness to any recipe. In savory dishes (think barbecue sauces and glazes), it can add a depth of flavor that you just can’t get with other sweeteners.
The sorghum sells for $12 per quart or $6 per pint.
"If anyone would like to purchase, they can call us at 662-282-4510," Spradling said.