Ever heard the story ’bout a man named Jed? I betcha his “black gold” was molasses long before he found oil. I’m talking about Jed Clampett of The Beverley Hillbillies. Before he moved to Californy he probably ate molasses on his bread just about every morning.
Molasses is a traditional food that deserves a place in our kitchens again. Molasses, a.k.a. blackstrap molasses, is a byproduct left over when sugar cane is processed into table sugar. It’s thick, dark, sticky stuff with a taste somewhat like sweet, burnt coffee.
Granted, blackstrap is an acquired taste. Growing up I didn’t much care for it, although I do associate it with fond memories. My Pop used to eat it every morning over his “green cereal”–an unappealing bowl of oats, green powder (kelp, maybe?) and water–while he read Our Daily Bread. Mom used to give us molasses on toast for a snack sometimes, although I would’ve preferred honey. One recipe I loved it in: shoofly pie. I just might have to re-create that for a future post(:
Today, molasses is a sweetener I never want to be without. I rediscovered the stuff in a book by Linda Clark–my real food inspiration long before I found Sally Fallon. Sugar cane roots grow deep, drawing many nutrients from the soil, and thus the vitamin and mineral content of molasses is amazing.
One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses contains about twenty percent of our daily calcium needs, twenty-five percent of our iron needs, and nine percent of our potassium needs. It’s also rich in copper, magnesium, and B vitamins.
Regular consumption of molasses can help to address the following issues:
- Gray hair
- High blood pressure
- Low energy
To get the health benefits of molasses, you can make a “tea” with it using one tablespoon of unsulphured molasses per cup of hot water or milk. You can also just eat a tablespoon straight, although you’ll want to brush your teeth afterwards to protect the enamel. It’s more fun to use molasses in recipes however, and its rich, complex flavours lend themselves to the hearty fare of fall. Look for my upcoming recipes for gingerbread and baked beans!