Molasses was important to America’s original homesteaders. Like honey, it was often called Liquid Gold. Why? It saved lives. Even in our modern times, few things perk up a compromised animal, like a healthy shot of molasses. In fact, it’s one of the best, non-meat sources of iron. It’s also loaded with other minerals and vitamins.
So, when I ran across a recipe for molasses bread last week, I had to try it. But, instead of mild molasses, I used blackstrap. And I wasn’t disappointed. The bread was bold in flavor and as just tasty as I had anticipated.
Truth be told, I’ve always loved molasses; even as a child. I still remember it poured from a tin can. But, I don’t recall turning my nose up at the smell. I also don’t recall spitting out the syrup. And unlike today, I never heard anyone say that molasses was gross. Yet, I concede that molasses’ sulphur smell may be unpleasant to some. And it’s boldness may actually be an acquired taste. Guess, I’m lucky. My mom used molasses for her delicious pecan pies. And my dad taught me to enjoy it on biscuits and pancakes, early in life.
Keith also grew up with an appreciation of molasses. (By the way, his mother makes the best molasses cookies I’ve ever tasted.) And as homesteaders, molasses continues to be an integral part of our life. Aside from critters, it’s used for making dark breads and nut pies. Keith and I also dollop it in hot cereals or coffee. And thanks to a man named Mark, we love it drizzled over scoops of vanilla ice-cream. The molasses “candies” as it freezes and the stark contrast in flavors is delightful.
And don’t forget about Switchel. Thanks to modern homesteaders and hipsters, it’s in vogue again. A.k.a “Haymaker’s punch”, Switchel is a mixture of molasses, cider vinegar, and ginger. It was the original Gatorade-like, hydration drink. Trust me, nothing is more refreshing. Especially, when haying all day under a July sun. So, if you dare, raise a glass and let’s make a toast: Here’s to hard work, good health, and molasses!