Sunday, February 10, 2013

Exploring the African Presence in Modern American Cuisine: Whipped Sorghum Butter

The topic of today's Black History Month post is sorghum.  Sorghum is a cereal grain that originated in Northeastern Africa.  The earliest known record of the crop has been dated at 8000 B.C. (1).  In Africa, the grain is often processed into injera, couscous, dumplings, beer, malt beverages and fermented and non-fermented porridges (2), and it is an extremely important subsistence crop, both in Africa (3) and developing countries such as Haiti (4).  It is actually the only viable food grain crop for many of the world's most food insecure people, who live in sub-Saharan Africa (2).

Grain sorghum made its transatlantic journey in the early seventeenth century when African slaves brought the crop to North America (5) and used it to make brooms, pudding and bread.   Another African sorghum variety--sweet sorghum--was later introduced in the United States in the mid-1800s, becoming the basis of the sorghum syrup industry (6).   Today, sorghum syrup production is concentrated in the U.S. South (7) and sorghum syrup (also erroneously referred to as sorghum molasses) is a staple of southern & soul food cooking (8).  The most common practice is to eat sorghum syrup with biscuits, pancakes or waffles.  However, it can be substituted for honey, molasses and sugar, and it's also thought to be more nutritious (9).  So, recipes abound.

Here, I use sorghum syrup to make a batch of whipped sorghum butter to eat with homemade sweet potato biscuits.  I plan to enjoy these biscuits and butter for dinner all week with glazed salmon, kale chips and caramelized purple cabbage and onions.

Whipped Sorghum Butter


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sorghum syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ginger preserves


Combine ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and combine well until whipped smooth and creamy.



  1. Umm, those biscuits look absolutely delicious! I haven't had a homemade biscuit in SOOO long. Have you had mine? We'll have to swap recipes at some point. Thanks for the Black History lesson, as well.

  2. Hi I'm John from It is a site in which users vote recipes
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  3. Fred, you'll have to cook 'em for me the next time I'm down your way. :)

    John, thanks for the note! I'll be sure to check out your website.


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