EFN INTRODUCTION. 'Coral' is one amazing plant. From the Shilluk people of the war-torn city of Malakal, South Sudan, this is a beautiful sorghum with many uses. The large purple grains (which fade toward brown with age) can be popped like popcorn, boiled or steamed like rice or barley, ground into flour, brewed into beer, or cracked and cooked like polenta. Harvested when the grains are still green, they can be hand-threshed and cooked almost like a green vegetable (akin to sweet corn), producing a chewy, sweet, savory delight. This preparation is considered a delicacy in South Sudan. (In India, green sorghum is called "ponk" and is combined with chickpea flour to make special fritters.) This variety also has sweet canes which can be pressed for juice to make sorghum syrup. 'Coral' is drought resistant and grows even in marginal soil. Curiously, we've found its ripening unpredictable, seeming to depend on the timing of rainfall more than day-length or other factors. Different patches planted just a few days apart in different parts of our test field have been known to ripen weeks apart. Trials as far north as upstate New York and Washington state have been successful, while 'Coral' failed to ripen for one grower in Missouri. The plants grow from 8 to 15 ft tall, and sometimes produce multiple stalks (up to five) from a single seed.
GROWING TIPS: At the beginning of nice warm weather (for us in South Jersey this is early May to early June), direct seed 1/4 inch deep in rows 2 feet apart. Thin to one plant every 12-15 inches.