panicles of broomcorn
are used for broom making
Culinary historian Michael W. Twitty
examines broomcorn in Old Salem
Sorghum vulgare var. technicum
The sorghums are a variety of grasses with uses ranging from grain, syrup, fodder and biofuel to brooms!
Sorghum was domesticated in Africa. The first sorghum type cultivated and utilized in America was the broomcorn, a specialized type of sorghum with panicles, or long fibrous flower clusters which become seed branches, that are used in broom making. The mature seed is used as animal feed.
Broomcorn was among the early field crops grown at Bethabara (1753), the first Moravian town in Wachovia.
The very tall heirloom sorghums planted in the Single Brothers’ Garden demonstrate the variety of field crops grown by the Single Brothers on their nearby 700 acres of land. Many of the seed heads have already been harvested for drying in preparation for use in broom making.