Sorghum And Sugarcane Presses

Pressing the juice from nonwoody plants like sorghum and sugarcane requires only simple tools and yields, a sweet extract wtiich can be processed for use as table sugar. The most common technique for pressing sorghum and sugarcane involves passing the stalk between two rollers, similar- to the rollers on an old wringer washing machine. The weaker units require passing the stalk through a number of times, or splitting or pounding the material with a hammer before pressing.

If you're interested in improvising to build your own press, you v.┬źnt to consult a book called the Lik Lib Buk from Papua, New Guinea (available from VITA, 3600 Rhode Island Avenue, Mt. Rainier, MD 20822). It illustrates a simple two-man sugarcane crusher that has no gears but has an adjustment screw at the top. Sugarcane is passed through the crusher three or four times, with the adjustment screw being tightened each time. The rollers arc made of four-huh galvanized pipe, eight inches long: shafts are one-inch milcf sleet, and bearings arc of hardwood. The top pair of bearings slides up and down depending upon the thickness of the stalk. Another unit has preset, spring-loaded rollers which require no further adjustment.

This setup may sound suspiciously like an old wringer washer to you, but heed'this word of warning from the l.ik I.ik Buh: "If you think you can crush effectively with an old clothes mangle or wringer, you're wrong. Save yourself the bother. The springs aren't strong enough and if they are, the rollers might break."

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