Molasses Making in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a demonstration of molasses making using a horse-powered cane mill and wood-fired cooker to produce sorghum molasses. This annual event is held at the Cades Cove mill area in October.
The autumn air of Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will once again be filled with the sweet smell of molasses. In October, a demonstration of molasses making using a horse-powered cane mill and wood-fired cooker to produce sorghum molasses is scheduled. The program, which is free to the public, replicates this traditional fall activity.
Historically, sorghum cane was a common crop in the Smokies. It was generally planted in the late spring or early summer and harvested in the fall. After the cane was cut, it was fed through a mule- or horse-powered mill to extract the juice. The juice was then cooked for several hours in a large kettle until it thickened into sorghum molasses.