Ingredient of the Week: Molasses

Here 'tis!  Ingredient of the week.  Sweet, sticky, dark, bitter molasses.

What do you think?  Do you like it?

When I think of molasses, there is a voice that says it in my head like, "Mohhh lasss ehhhhssssssss..."  It's a very deep voice, probably with a southern twang.

And when I think of molasses, I think of southern food.  And guess what!  There's a reason for that.

Molasses is a byproduct of (white) sugar production.  When the sugar cane is refined, all the delicious, earthy, strong stuff is stripped off so the weak and dainty can be bleached and sold to the masses (no judgments here, I have a big bag of the white stuff too).

In the past though, that earthy stuff was sold for cheap.  Which means poor people bought it.

And poor people in the old South = sharecroppers, freed slaves, essentially the makers of all the best soul food.

I love the history of molasses, the way an oppressed people took something that had been cast off as worthless, and made it a treasure.  They saw its value when no one else did.

And did you know there are health benefits to molasses?

Sort of like when wheat is stripped of its bran, it loses a lot of its nutrition, so with sugar cane - and molasses is that nutritious part.

It's loaded with minerals like manganese, copper, and iron.  It is even high in calcium.

It can also help with a sick stomach.  Because of its stomach-soothing properties and high mineral count, it's often recommended to pregnant women.  It was one of the few things I could eat when I was so so so sick in those early days.

I love it in candy.

I love it in cookies.

I love it in and on pancakes.

How do you love it?


anne said...

I've eaten my share of that when I was young ! :D We lived near the sugar refinery and my dad actually worked there :D I didn't know it will help/cure sick stomach ! In my part , I guess , I got sick of ingesting too much molasses ! hahahah

LynnieBee said...

LOVE MOLASSESS!!! My family has an awesome molasses cookies recipe (I posted about it on my blog, I'll go hunt for the link and post it here). But, I have also been known to just eat it by the spoonful, becasur it is yummy and to boost my iron ;)

LynnieBee said...

Here they are :)

libby said...

I just made some amaaaazing wheat bread, it was crazy the dough was so pliable and easy to shape because the 'lasses was holding it together.

a. maren said...

mmmm thanks lynnie for the link! i love family recipes, they are like a guarantee of goodness!

and libby, right?? it gives things such great texture! i wish i could try your baking...