Sugar Cane Syrup Making

Florida Sugar Cane Syrup Making: From Field To Bottle

Dade City, Fla.--Rancher, Steve Melton likes to make sugar cane syrup. Each year, he invites friends and family to his Central Florida ranch to help with the process from grinding the sugar cane to boiling the juice, and then bottling the syrup. This past December he had close to 300 visitors.

Sugar Cane growing on the left at Steve Melton's Ranch,
 Dade City, Fla.

Melton grows his sugar cane on his property near where his 80 gallon sugar cane syrup kettle is housed. He is a collector of antique farm equipment, so he likes to do everything the old fashioned way.

Sugar cane grinding/crushing machine from Melton's
ranch, Dade City, Fla.

The cane has to be grown down to release the juice before anything can happen.

Wood burning fire under 80-gallon kettle at Melton's
ranch, Dade City, Fla.
A fire is stoked under the 80-gallon kettle to help boil the water out of the cane juice.
 
Boiling cane juice at Melton's ranch, Dade City, Fla.
And then the boiling begins.
 
Impurities being skimmed off cane juice at Melton's
ranch, Dade City, Fla.
Part of the way through impurities have to be skimmed off the surface of the liquid.
 
More boiling of sugar cane juice at Melton's ranch,
Dade City, Fla.
And then there is more boiling. There is close to four hours of boiling before the liquid reaches the right density.
Temperature check of boiling sugar cane juice at
Melton's ranch, Dade City, Fla.
The temperature is checked often until the right one is reached and the cane syrup is closer to molten lava than liquid. It is very tasty molten lava.
 
"Pull the Fire," call rings out and the burning wood is
pulled outside at Melton's ranch, Dade City, Fla.
Now comes the dangerous steps. When the ideal temperature is reached they call "Pull the Fire!" Men grab the fireplace lining and pull the still burning wood out and into the yard.
 
Sugar cane syrup being sieved at Melton's ranch,
Dade City, Fla.
Then the hot syrup has to be sieved to clarify the liquid.This sieving can be very hazardous because the liquid is hot enough to burn and remove skin in seconds.
Bottling hot cane syrup at Melton's ranch, Dade City, Fla.
And the bottling is no less hazardous, one mistaken move and you've got searing, burning sugar all over your hands.
 
Labeling stage of sugar cane syrup making at
Melton's ranch, Dade City, Fla.
The labeling process is the last stage in this old fashioned style of making cane syrup.
 
Newly made Florida sugar cane syrup poured over
homemade biscuits at Melton's ranch,
Dade City, Fla.
And the best stage is the eating, when everything has cooled down, in about two to three hours.

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