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!