Soul Superfood: Sorghum

Not many people know what sorghum syrup is outside of the south.  I'm actually surprised that with all of the attention paid to natural sweeteners that no one has given sorghum more attention.  Maybe it's the spelling?  Or that it was mostly a poor folks' sugar?  Whatever the reason, this versatile cereal grain is finding traction in the gluten-free community because of its versatility - it can be ground into flour, popped, and toasted.  

Sorghum is an ancient grain and has been cultivated in Africa for thousands of years.  Seeds were mostly likely brought to America during the slave trade.  The grassy crop grows brilliantly in the southern plains, and it was a popular sweetener until sugar production went large scale (lowering the price) and corn syrup burst on the scene.  That being said, southern food chefs have used sorghum syrup to sweeten everything from meats to grains.

Nutritionally, sorghum syrup is sugar, and most of its 61 calories per tablespoon come from the simple sugars glucose, fructose, and sucrose.  Unlike cane sugar, however, the syrup has some value with vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, copper, iron, calcium, zinc, selenium, and riboflavin.  

The syrup is hard to find up here in the northeast (like many other soulful staples), but it is available online.  I love sorghum on biscuits, pancakes, and when going rogue, sweet grits.