It flooded the streets of Boston in 1919 and drowned 21 people. Jack Kerouac ate it by the spoonful for its iron. It lives in a jar in the rear of your pantry.
Ding ding! What is molasses?(!) Good question—and now another: What'sblackstrap molasses and what's it good for?
Almost all molasses comes from sugarcane juice and was originally a pirate product of the Caribbean rum country. Boiled down, the liquid sugar cooks and crystallizes, and—blop—molasses is born. The first boiling renders something called a mild or Barbados molasses. The second makes a vaguely bitter molasses—called dark—with a slight licorice-like finish. And the third leaves a thick, tar-like paste at the bottom of the crock: blackstrap molasses.
Yuck? No way. This is the crème de la crème, the most flavorful of all, intense and bitter with a hint of smoke. And rich in iron, potassium and copper.
It's enough to make you want to enter the far reaches of your pantry.
Turn your bitter greens sweet with molasses: slow-cook collards in a rich infusion of beer, vinegar, bacon, onion, garlic and molasses. Or top plump medjool dates with pecorino shavings and drizzle with a glaze of molasses, dark muscovado sugar, fennel seed, sherry vinegar, salt and cocoa powder. Go back in time with an 1881 recipe
for chocolate caramels.
And yes, armchair historians: the Great Molasses Flood really happened.