Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sorghum Syrup

After talking about posting sorghum syrup recipes here while on Debbie Lynne Costello's blog last week, I became discouraged by my inability to actually get my hands on the syrup up here in Canada. I checked every local store without success, and even had my daughter in Vancouver check there. The answer was that they carried the sorghum flour, but there wasn't a demand for the syrup. I found some white syrup in Ontario sold for the brewing trade, but it was from the sorghum grain grown for it's flour, not the type grown for the high sugar content in the stalk, like the cane sugar.

I found several choices for sorghum syrup online through, but was told to use their Canadian website When I did that, there was only one choice and that was for a product that was USD $17 at the .com but at .ca the price jumped to C $72 plus S&H...yet it was still coming from the same Pennsylvania location.

I considered reimbursing a friend - someone who lives in Minnesota - for buying the sorghum syrup, trying out a few recipes, and reporting back with the results, but I couldn't do that to anyone this close to Christmas.

I put the sticky situation with the sorghum syrup to the side and concentrated on preparing the house for Christmas, working on our church's Live Nativity at the local auction mart, etc, until last night after being totally surprised by the arrival of my eldest son, when I realized the date...yes, the one that I was supposed to post sorghum syrup recipes.

If you're wondering why I was looking for sorghum syrup, it's because it's the industry that made my heroine an heiress in my newest novella, Sweet Love Grows, albeit an illegitimate heiress who must fight for her inheritance.

In 1853, sweet sorghum was patented in the United States. According to the National Sweet Sorghum Producers & Processors Assn (NSSPPA), sweet sorghum grows across the south-eastern United States and gulf states, including Texas, north to Wisconsin, and west to Kansas, Iowa, and also Minnesota where my novella is set.

The Annual Report of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society for the Year 1890 shows a report by Mrs. A.A. Kennedy, of Hutchinson, who mentions sorghum syrup under the heading of Pickles and Preserves...

Annual Report of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society: For 1890

The above report shows that sweet sorghum had many uses to a prairie homemaker.

While researching the sorghum industry in Midwest America, I stumbled upon the site of the Maasdam Sorghum Mill of Iowa, which started in 1926 and is still in operation 7 generations later. Their website includes the history of the mill, a store including a recipe book, and this short video by a local news station:

Recipes on websites seem to be copyrighted these days , and since I couldn't test any of sorghum recipes for this post myself, here's some links you might like to check out:
- Maasdam Sorghum Mill Recipes
- Lois' Dutch Sorghum Cake
- Sorghum-Nut Bread

I"m giving away a copy of The American Heiress Brides Collection which contains my novella, Sweet Love Grows. Leave a comment on this post and you'll be entered. Deadline to enter is midnight, Boxing Day, December 26th, 2016.

I'm also holding a giveaway for a copy with a winner drawn from among the subscribers of my quarterly newsletter. If you'd like to get in on that draw, you sign up for the newsletter on my Contest page, or through the blue sign up button below the header of my Facebook Author page.

I will mail one copy of the following postcard to anyone on my newsletter mailing list who leaves a postal address:


Anita Mae Draper's historical romances are woven under the western skies of the Saskatchewan prairie where her love of research and genealogy yield fascinating truths that layer her stories with rich historical details. Her Christian faith is reflected in her stories of forgiveness and redemption as her characters struggle to find their way to that place in our heart we call home. Anita loves to correspond with her readers through any of the social media links found at

Readers can enrich their reading experience by checking out Anita's Pinterest boards for a visual idea of her stories at


  1. This solves part of the mystery. I recall wondering what the difference was...and HEY, I actually see this stuff still in the Mennonite store I shop in. Same brand, I believe! It always makes me think of old recipes.

    I hope people can take the time to stop in and read it (Eventually, the holiday activities will settle!) and get in the drawing for this collection. I'm so excited for your first Barbour collection, Anita Mae. Quite deserved and it will bring you to a larger market!

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you, Deb. I'm especially happy that Inky Susie and Inky Lisa also have novellas in this collection.

      As for the #giveaway, I may not receive many entries, but whoever wins it will be rewarded for visiting the Inkwell. :)

  2. You go to great lengths for accuracy! I like that!
    I'd love to win your book. Thanks for the chance to enter the draw
    AND Merry Christmas from a few hours north of you!
    elaineking1 at hotmail dot com

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Elaine. I'm glad you have a chance to enter this #giveaway since you had probs entering the last one. Merry Christmas to the Saskatoon area. Hope your weather is as good as ours. :)

  3. I always enjoy your posts, Anita. They're so well researched and interesting. :)

  4. I have never tried that, but I have heard of it :) Merry Christmas!
    dkstevensne AT outlook (dotcoM)

    1. Thanks for letting me know, Deanna. You're entered. Merry Christmas. :)

  5. What great research! I have always wondered about sorghum. :) Loved the post.

  6. I'm impressed by your quest for accuracy! Where in Minnesota is your novella based? MN is my home state and where I live!�� elise(underscore)jehan(at)yahoo(dot)com

    1. Lisa, I chose McLeod County in Minnesota for the 1890 setting of Sweet Love Grows because it had the agriculture, population, and logistics necessary for my story.

      I hope you recognize your wonderful state in the words I've chosen to describe it. Thanks for dropping by.

  7. These sound like really interesting books! I think I would enjoy these books.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

    1. Carol, I appreciate that you've stopped in for a comment, especially after I clicked your blog profile and saw your blog giveaway suggestions. Very practical advice.

      The 9 novellas that make up The American Heiress Brides Collection are all contained in one book - and yes, I hope you enjoy them too. I've got you entered in any case. :)

  8. Interesting post. I have never heard of sorghum syrup. Looking forward to reading The American Heiress Brides Collection. I have it on my reading wish list. Hope your Christmas was a good one and hope you have a very Happy Healthy New Year.

    1. Forgot my email. kmgervais(at)nycap(dot)rr(dot)com

    2. Thanks for visiting, Karen. I have you entered. And yes, it was a very good Christmas, thank you. I hope your new year is filled with blessings for you and yours. :)

  9. I find history of various food very interesting! I've often thought of what it would be like to be a homemaker "back in the day", I'm sure it was much harder work with much more satisfactory results :-) If that even makes sense, lol!

    Congrats on your novella in this wonderful collection! Thank you for a chance to win a copy of "The American Heiress Brides Collection"...I adore these sets out out by Both our :-)

    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. That is supposed to read "put out" doesn't like me, lol!

    2. Yes, Trixi, our pioneer families didn't have much leisure time once the necessary chores were done, but there was a level of pride in their work that is hard to equal when measured by today's availability of things that make life easier for us.

      And speaking of auto-correct, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the publisher of The American Heiress Brides Collection is Barbour Publishing vice "Both our" as your auto correct assumed.

      Thank you so very much for stopping by and sharing.

    3. Oh for Pete's sake!! Auto-correct strikes twice in a row...thanks for catching that Anita and knowing what I meant to type!

      Now I'm going to slink silently back to my quiet corner consoling myself with a book.....Haha!!

  10. Using I've drawn a winner of my post giveaway which is a print copy of The American Heiress Brides Collection.

    And the giveaway winner is... Deanna Stevens!

    Congratulations, Deanna, I've sent you an email requesting postal info.

    Thank you to everyone who left comments to enter this giveaway. If you'd like another chance, check my Contest page and American Heiress Brides book page for more giveaways.

  11. Thank you! I do enjoy collections. Happy New Year!


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We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.