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I grew sweet sorghum this year as it looked like the easiest way to grow "sugar" in New England. Now I've harvested it, but I'm hard pressed (ha ha) to find a way to mill it with generally available household equipement. Any suggestions or ideas of how I might cobble together something?

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Maybe some of the information available via Sorghum Production might prove helpful/useful. Sorry I can't be of more help, as I have no experience doing what you wish do... –  Mike Perry Sep 16 '11 at 16:05
    
The other NE sugar "crops" I know are honey and maple. I'm interested to see what you find out here. –  bstpierre Sep 16 '11 at 16:37
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Looking around at a few pages on the web, it seems that commercial grade mills exert several tons of pressing force on the sorghum to squeeze the juice out. I don't know of any normal kitchen equipment with that kind of pressure.

I think you could do the evaporation with household gear -- looks like maintaining temperature and getting the timing right will be tricky but doable.

Ideas for extracting juice that I'd try in your place (these may not work, and could possibly damage the equipment):

  • juicer machine (you'll probably end up with a lot of solids in the juice)
  • pasta roller with flat rolls

But given that you can find these for around $25-40, it might be worth the price to experiment and see if either has any chance of working. Then you'll know if a home sorghum refinery is at all practical.

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Using a juicer and then processing the liquid through several stages of increasingly fine mesh frames, with cheese cloth as a last stage would be a time-consuming but effective way to finish this process off. –  Katey HW Sep 26 '11 at 20:23
    
Yes, I don't think there's a way around the "time consuming" aspect of it. Before processing through mesh/cheesecloth, I'd probably also give the juice time to settle so that you can pour off the liquid and hopefully leave behind some of the solids. I'd love to hear from someone (maybe you, Mark) who tries this to see how it works. –  bstpierre Sep 27 '11 at 1:48
    
Bstpierre I think that about sums up the situation. I ended up cobbling together a primitive press with casters, some scrap wood , and furniture clamps. I can't really recommend that technique :). It was good enough to extract a small amount of juice which was pretty easily filtered and. Oiled do –  Mark Zeren Oct 23 '11 at 14:37
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How about an old "Ringer" clothes washing machine? I was just at a sorghum making demo yesterday and the machine reminded me of a ringer washing machine - just bigger.

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