The sugar kettle is a product of the late 18th and 19th Century sugar industry. These beautiful, sphere shaped kettles were primarily used in the production of sugar. They were vital to the production of sugar, appearing in many sizes, depending on the stage and type of operation, but all primarily the same shape. The Sugar Kettle is primarily a product of the South, where the majority of the plantations were located, especially sugar plantations. These beautiful historic kettles were also used for cooking on the plantation, whereby they had to prepare meals for a lot of people. Made of cast iron, they were and still are a very hardy, versatile kettles to do many things with.
Bayou Teche, was a major route of important to the Southern Louisiana trade, and had many plantations along the bayou banks. The local people used to call the Sugar Kettles, "Teches", referring to the kettles for their cooking capabilities. The majority of Historic Sugar Kettles were sent off to melt down for our nations war efforts. While some stayed around, which you can see on some old plantations and people’s lawns, most of them were melted down.
The method of producing cane sugar in early 19th century Louisiana was largely derived from the 18th century European sugar colonies in the Caribbean. Each sugar cane plantation in Louisiana had its own sugar-house. The sugar was crushed using an animal-powered three-roller mill. The extracted sugar cane juice was heated, clarified, & evaporated in a set of large open kettles of decreasing size which were enclosed in brickwork over a furnace. Lime was the substance most often used to clarify the cane juice, and the impurities that rose to the surface were skimmed off. After syrup resulted from the evaporation of the juice, the Sugar maker, using the rule-of-thumb techniques, determined when sugar crystals had formed. This was called a "Strike" and was the point at which the concentrated syrup was turned out into shallow wooden tanks and left to cool. The cane grinding season, or roulaison, was a festive time on most plantations. Social gatherings, dances, and candy pullings took place after the cane was ground, and visitors to the plantation sugar-houses were often treated to "hot punch," a drink made of partially boiled cane juice and French brandy. The "hot punch" was made and served from the sugar kettle or syrup kettle.
Today, the historic sugar kettle is not used in the production of sugar however; they are used in many different other ways. The sugar kettle, or syrup kettle, is being used for container and water gardening as well as lawn or estate ornaments. For garden decoration, these kettles are great as just a standalone item, but serve as amazing landscape or garden planters. When used as a water feature, these sugar kettles (syrup kettles) are often used a fish ponds, water fountains, or just water planter with blooming water lilies. In colder climates, these syrup kettles may be referred to as fire kettles and used as fire pits or fire bowls. The cast iron composition makes a perfect fire bowl or fire pit as it is sturdy, can be left outdoors, and as the kettle heats up, it will actually emit heat to keep those nearby warm. With a creative mind, one can do possibly anything with these kettles because of the versatility they bring to the consumer.
Louisiana is our home, so the sugar kettle (also known as syrup kettle) has long been a staple of our outdoor gardens. In the late 1990's, we realized the allure of the historic sugar kettle far outweighed its obtainability and affordability on the antique market. The idea of Grove Kettles was born!
Using the measurements of our antique kettles, we made casts for 3.5 foot to 7 foot kettles and began hand-making sugar kettles the same way they were made in the 18th century. Grove Kettles officially opened for business in 1999 as the first and only wholesaler of reproduction sugar kettles.
Today, the versatile sugar kettle can be used to dress up any outdoor or indoor space. They can be used as a fish and koi pond, fire pit, fire bowl, water fountain, landscape planter, or any use you can dream up!
Our kettles are made of 100% Cast Iron and are guaranteed to last a lifetime.
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