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Sorghum - The Camel Crop

Asia is a continent that conserves traditions while simultaneously holding a vision for modernisation; a concept that never fails to surprise me. It amazes me how often we tend to forget about what has been around us for centuries. We also usually regard some of these old-school products as secondary ingredients that are fed to animals.

Sorghum played a huge role in human diets for centuries. It is one of the top ten most important crops. It has 25 species mainly originating in Australia, Asia, and Mesoamerica. Only one of its species is cultivated for its edible seeds. The rest of the species is grown for animal feed. Sorghum does well in dry conditions and it contains a lot of juice that is similar to grass. Sorghum is therefore nicknamed the camel crop for its water-saving nature.

Sorghum belongs to the grass family similar to sugar cane. The stalks and leaves are coated with white wax, and the pith of certain varieties are juicy and sweet. The small flowers are grown in clusters that produce between 800 - 3000 kernels. These kernels or seeds vary in different colour, shape, and size.

Sorghum is a gluten-free grain and is usually made into porridge, flatbread, and cakes. Aside from that sorghum is also used to produce edible oil, sugar, alcoholic beverages (such as kaoling, baijiu). The stalks are also used for building material.

As a bartender, two things got caught my interest. One of them is the spirit, which we will explore in future articles and the other is the sorghum syrup, which is mainly produced in the USA and Africa. What a distance from Singapore!

Well, stay tuned for more upcoming articles.

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