Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blackstrapping my Creative Juices

Sure. Why not blog about blackstrap molasses?

Today I learned how molasses is made, and it's food value. Turns out that molasses is the result of using centrifugal force to remove the pulp and sugars (mostly sucrose) from the sugarcane juice. Leaving it with all sorts of necessary minerals and vitamins, including iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium, vitamin B6 and selenium.

Caveat: Although the sugar is stripped out, molasses is not calorie-free. Blackstrap, the version with the least remaining sugar, has 32 calories for a two-teaspoon serving. Compare that to light molasses, with the most remaining sugar content, at about 120 calories for the same portion.

Although the rich, deep coffee color of blackstrap molasses reminds me of fall and not the pleasant spring breeze now blowing in through the open patio door, I am moved to find recipes.  I am disappointed to turn up page after page of nothing but baked goods and baked beans.  That and an occasional meat marinade recipe.  Why such limited creativity?

Despite having an old bottle of Brer Rabbit blackstrap in my cabinet - love the bunny pic - I decide to use my memory as the taste tester.  If I get up, Lord knows I'll forget what I am doing, get started on something else, and entirely blow off the blog. 

I want to think about what molasses might complement.  Those who cook know you can think of a flavor in your head, and retrieve a taste memory.  Then you can remember your way through a mental catalog of ingredients, each with its own taste memory, mentally imagining the effect of the mingling of flavors. 

A random thought strikes.  Is this similar to famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven mentally imagining his musical scores, even though he became almost completely deaf?

I do have one clue:  several of the baked good recipes combined the flavors of ginger and molasses.  I will keep this in mind, but refuse to be pigeon-holed by it.  Both molasses and ginger are heavy, earthy flavors.  It takes a certain kind of ethnic food lover to enjoy this, and even my daughters aren't always on board with this. 

A food that molasses reminds me of is candied pecan.  Dense, not too sweet, nutty.  Those work well with fruit, on salads, maybe with cheeses.

I run through my mental repertoire.


Lentils with tomatoes sauteed with onions, add a teaspoon or two of molasses.  Hmmm...


Baby lettuce, with mozzarrella and strawberriesDrizzled with a vinegrette of molasses, balsalmic vinegar and blood orange flavored olive oil from O. 

Mmmm.... I actually got up to go test that one out.  Well, I didn't make the entire salad, but I dipped a strawberry into the dressing.  Definitely one of my better ideas.


Combine molasses, miso and a good dose of sherry; marinate - for just an hour or two - a thick white fillet of fish.  Broil.   I make and taste this marinade too - and approve.  Yes, I will use this soon. 

Dip tart apple slices into a mix of raw crunchy almond butter and molasses.   OMG.  This is really yummy.  Really.  Yummy.   Put.   It.   Away.

Slices of orange, arranged on top of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with molasses, with gingerbread cookies.   A final nod of my hat to the tradition of molasses married to ginger.  I don't have the oranges or the ice cream or the cookies, but I can taste this in my minds' eye and trust me, it's delicious.


You get the idea!

Soon as I use up this Brer Rabbit, I think I'll go out and buy myself a bottle of organic blackstrap.  How about you?

1 comment:

  1. Here is one I have been using:
    PH Balance Formula: Kombucha Tea & Molasses
    This is a great formula for balancing the Acid/Alkaline ratio in the body and supplies Iron and Potassium. This formula is vital for those with Osteoporosis, Arthritis, and many other debilitating diseases.
    1. One cup of well aged kombucha tea (8-14+ days)
    2. One cup of Organic Black Strap Molasses.
    Mix together in your blender and store in a glass jar (does not need to be refrigerated). The average adult dosage is: 2 to 4 tablespoons a day.

    Susan Beaumont