By Hollis Crummey
As we reach the fall of the year and approach Thanksgiving, I am reminded of one popular fall social event enjoyed by the country folks of south Georgia. Cane grindings, as we called them, was the culmination of the sugarcane harvest. Not all farmers grew sugar cane. My folks never did in my lifetime. But various families over the county grew sugarcane and some purchased patches from neighbors who chose to sell a crop rather than cook it out into syrup. A cane harvest involved hard labor; the fodder must be stripped from the stalk, the stalks had to be cut down, and hauled up to the cane mill where they were ground into juice. Hence the term “cane grinding”. The juice then had to be transferred over to the boiler, which was under the boiler shelter. Then cooked at just the right temperature for just the right amount of time in order to turn it into the delicacy called “Cane Syrup”. The boiler was fired with wood, so keeping the juice at a desired temperature was an art in it’s self. Then the finished product was cooled down to a point that it could be bottled. Many times it was bottled in used bottles and used fruit jars that had been gathered up for this purpose. Of course they were cleaned and sterilized in a boiler of hot water.
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