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Raising Cane In Adair Co.

By: Col. Carlis B. Wilson

The Old Cane Mill.
Times when sugarcane was grown and processed at the old cane mill.
When the cane was ready for harvest there would be a spot picked for the cane mill and the making of molasses. As I think of it now, there must have been some forethought as to the time when the big cook-off would take place.

The Steel Cooker
There was a good level spot at the side of the cane field for the mill and near it was a good place for the pit and wood to build a fire for cooking the sugarcane to make molasses. The steel cooker (box) was rather large and would yield a good number of stands of that golden medium sweet tasting delight. Uncle was notorious for making molasses not sorghum he would say.

Mule Power
Once the cane mill was brought in and set up there would be a good working mule hitched to it as to power the mill. The mill had a lead pole just in front of the mule and the lead rein was hitched to it.
As the mule was led along with the lead pole it was around and around as long as it took to grind the cane.

The Squeeze
The larger children always help out with the farm work, feeding the cane into the mill is one thing that they could do. Some carrying the cane to the mill and others feeding it into the mill. It was some what dangers to feed the cane into the cane mill, because there was no grads or safety shields to protect the worker. There has been many lost fingers by letting them get to close to the turning blades. I have a aunt and uncle that got their finger tip cut off the same day. The mill squeezes the sweet juice from the cane and it run down a spout into large buckets and then poured into the large cooker. By the time there was enough sugarcane juice from the mill, the fire would be well built and ready fot the cooking. Much time was spent waiting for the sugar cane to cook into molasses.

Pass The Molasses
As I remember about one hour before the final sample was taken, there would be a skimming of what look like white foam that arose to the top of the batch. We were told if the foam is not removed it will affect the taste and color of the molasses. After that there would be samples of how thick it was and then cooled in cold water to see how it was tasting. Finely late in the evening the finished product was dipped and poured into stands and sealed until needed. There were many ways to cook with molasses. We loved popcorn balls, made with molasses and many other items like cookies, candy and table use.


This story was posted on 2003-04-10 11:52:19
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