Demonstrations occur periodically around Heritage Village throughout the year and during special events.
The demonstration shed area includes a smoke house, sugar cane mill and boiling shed, and blacksmith and woodworking areas.
Smoke House: A Cure for Meat
Before grocery stores or reliable refrigeration, rural families preserved or “cured” meat and fish in smoke houses. It was covered with a salt based seasoning and placed in the smoke house where a fire burned at the back. The process took anywhere from a few days to several weeks. A brownish crust covered the meat and fish when finished.
The fire in the smoke house included specific types of trees and other items, such as apples and corncobs, for a distinctive smoked flavor. Pecan, oak, hickory and buttonwood trees completed the smoke house fires in Pinellas County. Pine trees, while plentiful, left behind a turpentine taste and therefore, were not used.
The Largo Area Historical Society operates the Smoke House at special events.
Sugar Cane Mill & Boiling Shed
In order to extract juice from a sugar cane plant, workers fed sugar cane stalks between two rollers and caught the crushed cane on the other side. The cane juice flowed from the grinder into a barrel.
Workers rolled the full barrel to the boiling shed and emptied it into a cast iron kettle at the boiling shed. A fire at the back of the boiling shed, tended with a long rake, swirled heat around and under the kettle of syrup making an even temperature. The longer the syrup boiled, the thicker it became.
It takes 10 gallons of sugar cane juice to make 1 gallon of syrup.
The Largo Area Historical Society operates the Sugar Cane Mill & Boiling Shed at special events.