Food Of The Month: Molasses


Ah molasses, that oozy friend who tempts us toward ever-greater heights of self indulgence. Though on the outside it’s slow and sticky, inside this byproduct of sugar production has the potential to reduce even the most dignified eaters to a primal state of Dionisyian decadence. Unlike other processed foods, molasses has a healthy side: generous helpings of calcium and Vitamin B6. This nutrient richness appeals to even the most reluctant health-food fanatics, enhancing it’s seductive nature. Below are the three stages of molasses craving, from induction to worship. Be warned: some of the more extreme methods of molasses consumption are not for the faint of heart.


Stage One: Induction

It starts with baking. A dollop of molasses in the batter, a squeeze inside the biscuit, a drizzle on the custard tart. Then it spreads to the meat: a glaze on the ham, a base for the barbecue sauce. The sweet-bitter contrast of molasses adds a level of gastronomical complexity which transcends mere sugar. Soon, the mind begins to wonder: where else can this ooey-gooey repository of goodness be put to use? Thus begins the descent into stage two, where moral values and self-regulation begins to break down.

Stage Two: Compulsion

Fresh fruit, pretzels, jerky: what do these three things have in common? You can dip them all into molasses, of course! Mix it in your peanut butter, mash it with Irish butter, toss it with your salad. Snacking becomes spectacular, dinner a delight, and blood sugar levels an afterthought. Such marvelous smacking and slurping, munching and crunching, oozing and goozing reaches a crescendo, catapulting eaters into the third and most indulgent stage.


Stage Three: Worship

Now, it is time for molasses to be enjoyed to the fullest extent: with no boundaries, no scruples, and certainly no utensils. Dip your fingers into the stuff, glug it straight from the bottle and feel its warmth as it makes its way down your gullet. Ordinary milk too boring? Stir some molasses in (and pity the one who has to clean your cup out afterward). Go to novelty candy stores and buy molasses flavored soda, drink rum if you’re old enough. The possibilities are endless. Molasses is the king of goo.


Tips on Buying/Cooking with Molasses:


  • Make sure you only purchase molasses with an “unsulfured” label. This goes for dried fruit, too. Sulfur dioxide is used by many food corporations as a preservative, and although it is harmless in trace amounts, it can be toxic in large quantities. Sulfur dioxide also alters the flavoring of the food it is imbued with.
  • There are different variants of molasses based on how long it has been boiled, from sweet Molasses A to bitter Molasses C (also called Blackstrap Molasses). Use the bitterer stuff for baking, and the sweet stuff for everything else.
  • Molasses can be made with either sugarcane or sugar beets. Know this: sugar beet molasses is good for livestock, not humans. However, it can be made into rum or thoroughly cooked.