Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Sweet Option...!


Let's talk about some points of food storage for a bit.

Storage of sugar and syrup and the like is good, but they do have some bad points as far as long term storage is concerned. Also, they are not as versatile as another option...molasses!

Molasses is a delicious by-product which is extracted during the sugar cane refining process used to make sugar crystals. The sugar cane is crushed to remove the juice which is then boiled vigorously. Machines utilize centrifugal force to extract the sugar crystals from the syrup. The remaining syrup becomes molasses.

Molasses has been around for a very long time and has a very long history of use in the States.

Molasses used to be the primary sweetener used in days of yore until refined white sugar pushed it to the back of the shelf. It has a distinctive flavor that brings extra sparkle to spice-laden recipes such as gingerbread, fruitcake, cookies, toffee, baked beans, and sauces.

Molasses was exported to the U.S. from the West Indies to make rum. High taxes were levied on molasses by the British via the Molasses Act of 1733, but the duties were so widely ignored by U.S. colonists that the taxes were reduced in 1764 in hopes more would comply.

Up until the 1880's, molasses was the most popular sweetener in the United States, because it was much cheaper than refined sugar. It was considered particularly tasty with salt pork.

After the end of World War I, refined sugar prices dropped drastically resulting in the migration of consumers from molasses to white sugar crystals. By 1919, U.S. per capita consumption of white sugar was twice what it was in 1880, with most Americans completely switching from molasses to granulated white and brown sugar.

In January of 1919, a huge vat of molasses at the Purity Distilling Company in Boston exploded. What came to be known as the "Great Molasses Flood" killed 21 people and spilled two million gallons of molasses into the streets.

Interestingly enough, molasses now costs about twice as much as refined sugar. Along with industrial alcohol and rum products, molasses can also be used to make yeast, cure tobacco, and in cattle feed.

You can get molasses in most grocery store, and if you check the label you'll find that the long term advantages of storing it make it a better option than sugar...anyway, it's worth thinking about!

Now, my friends, let's get some coffee and sit inside for a bit. It's a little cold outside!

21 comments:

Ken said...

...great post,love molasses,plenty on the shelf too,rotates out nicely cuz it gets used...honey also(luv'em on my biscuits too)more of those than crystal sugar here,at any given time(non Holiday)i only store 30 or 40 pounds of granulated sugar(spring preppin'/restockin')will add to those tho

...first rule store what ya use,use what ya store huh ?...

HermitJim said...

Hey Ken...
Love that honey and molasses! Sure makes a good sweetener, plus gotta figure that anything used to make yeast and rum can't be a bad storage item!

Just exploring the possibilities, brother!

Thanks for coming by today!

upinak said...

Hermit, I never knew about molasses! Very neat and I learned something new today. Now I wonder if there is a way to find out how to make it yourself, not that I can grow sugar cane up here.

:) keep up the good work.

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

I´ve always wondered about the price on molasses. It should be half the price of refined sugar to be honest.

Not to many uses it here even if some tv-chefs has tried to make it more popular again. I like to use it when baking bread.

Thanks for the info, much I didn´t know there.
Have a great day now!
Christer.

HermitJim said...

Hey Upinak...
If you can't find it in the store...you can order it from places like BePrepared.com and other sites that offer long term storage foods.

If nothing else, one of us here in the lower 48 could send you some!

I thank you, my friend, for coming by today!


hey Christer...
Plentiful here nearly everywhere, but it isn't as popular in the northern states as it is in the south, I believe!

I think it is something you have to acquire a taste for...

Thanks for the visit today, my friend!

LizBeth said...

Check out Walton Feed online. They sell it by the bucket. Thanks for the scoop.. . . .Cold here, too. Already down in the teens, but we're hoping for the fifties Sunday afternoon.
~Liz

K.D.Storm said...

I haven't seen much molasses around here. There is the honey in the cute little bear and they sell honey with the comb at the famrer's market but don't think have ever seen the molasses. I thought it was a northern thing LMAO. Have a great day and enjoy your coffee. We are suppose to get rain here today :(

2 Tramps said...

Yummm - Grandma's molasses cookies! They were so good... We are just using up the last of bulk molasses I bought 7 years ago. It keeps very well - we put it into quart jars. Great in a banana smoothie - just a frozen banana chopped up and put in a blender, add milk and molasses. Make it thick and it is ice cream. Thanks for sharing the story of how it came to be, H.J.!

Momlady said...

Good info! I keep honey around simply because it never spoils. Don't put it in the fridge, though. We have a lady here who has honey bees and sells their honey, both locally and outside the state. She has even won an award for the best honey in the world. How lucky am I to have such a great source so close to home!
It's raining here so no coffee outside. Have a honey of a day.

HermitJim said...

Hey Liz...
Pretty cold here with the wind blowing like crazy! It's getting harder and harder to get a handle on this weather, that's for sure!

I really don't want to see anymore rain for a while, either!

Hey, Thanks for coming by today!


Hey K.D....
Honey makes a great storage food, as it is the only food that doesn't spoil! It will crystal up on you, but you can solve that by placing the honey container in some hot water and the crystals will dissolve.

Hope you can find some molasses and try it! great for cooking, as well!

I appreciate you coming by today!


Hey Tramps...
The old folks knew how to cook with it, for sure! Gingerbread gets it's distinctive taste from it...and I love gingerbread!

I do thank you for coming by today!


Hey Momlady...
That's great that you have a "honey lady" close! I would sure be getting some extra for the pantry!

This soggy weather is getting old pretty quick, isn't it? I'm ready for a change!

Thanks for dropping in today, my friend!

Kyddryn said...

I always have a bit of moalsses on hand, Mister Hermit, sir - good stuff on pancakes, biscuits, and I even use it in my banana bread during the winter to make it a little heartier! Is there a formula for substituting it for sugar?

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

HermitJim said...

Hey K...
I would imagine that there is a formula for converting the sugar to molasses, and if I can find it I'll certainly send you a copy.

I knew an ol' country girl like you would know how to cook with molasses!

Hey, thanks for coming by today!

Felinae said...

Good day, Uncle Hermit, :)

Molasses and Honey are both kept on hand here. Catman and my brother both like my pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie better if I use molasses instead of the karo syrup. So for them I keep some on hand.

Have a great weekend
Hugs~Felinae~

HermitJim said...

Hey Felinae...
I somehow just knew that you would have some molasses on hand!

I can see that the Catman and your brother both have someone looking out for their interest on the food front! That's a good thing!

I sure appreciate you dropping in today!

Tatersmama said...

I've been using blackstrap molasses all my life... and I love the stuff! (Regular ol' molasses is the first or second boiling of cane sugar syrup, while blackstrap is the third boiling of the syrup. Iron levels appear to increase 5%+ in the 3rd boiling, making it even more nutritious)
Unfortunately here in Oz, a little ol' jar sets me back almost $5... but IMO, it's well worth it!

HermitJim said...

Hey Tatersmama...
Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and pay a premium price for a good product! I'm surprised that they even have it there, to tell the truth! I'm glad you have access to it, though!

I'm so glad you could come by today, my friend!

Felinae said...

Hi again Uncle Hermit :)

I noticed up there ^ that Kyddryn was asking for a conversion for using molasses instead of sugar. I found this

To substitute molasses for Sugar, for every cup (8 oz / 225g) of Sugar called for use 1 1/3 cup (10 oz / 300 ml) molasses, 1 tsp baking soda, and reduce other liquid in the recipe by 6 tbsp. Don't swap more than half the Sugar in a recipe for molasses.

at this site http://www.practicallyedible.com/edible.nsf/pages/sugar

they have a bunch more conversions as well all for substituting other ingredients for sugar. Hope that the info is helpful. :)

Hugs~Felinae~

HermitJim said...

Hey Felinae...
I really appreciate the information and I'm sure that K does also!

You so smart...!

Mechanic in Illinois said...

Mom always used molasses in baking and my wife uses it because she has all my mom's recipes. We keep plenty on hand. Tell Felinae thanks for the conversion info and thanks for another great lesson.

Lamb said...

I LOVE molasses! Always have some around...My Irish grandmother used keep a little crock of it on the table and it was my favorite thing to drizzle on pancakes and cornbread. One nice thing about molasses is you use less of it to get flavor and sweetness than white sugar (IMO)

HermitJim said...

Hey Mechanic...
I think it's great that your mom's recipes continue on through your wife! That's pretty special, I think!

I sure do appreciate the visit today!


Hey Lamb...
Good to see you today!

My aunt used to keep a small crock of it on the table...and I remember how good it was on leftover biscuits!

Funny how some things bring back some older memories!

Thanks for coming by today!