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Molasses


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I grew up in Benton County, TN, at that time one of the state's largest producers of sorghum molasses. The production of the first "new sorghum" of the year was always a major occasion requiring the canonical "new sorghum" dinner: Thick-sliced country bacon, canned tomatos from the garden, biscuits, butter and sorghum.

To eat the sorghum, one put a pat of butter on the plate, poured a dollop of sorghum over it, creamed the two together with the flat of a table knife blade, and spread it on the biscuits.

Sometimes it would be cracklin' cornbread instead of biscuits.

Andisenji, a source for old-fashioned sorghum molasses: The Andy Mast Family, 480 Hidden Valley Road, Pleasantville, TN, 37147. They're Amish, so I doubt they have internet capability for ordering, but I'd bet you can order by mail.

Thanks for the info. However, I do have an online source, and have found that this product from Newsom's in Princeton, KY is very close the homemade sorghum made on my family's farm.

It is also Amish made so is probably quite similar to the product you mentioned.

When I was a child, we were paid to feed the fire under the condensing pans - I think it was ten cents an hour, which in the mid-to-late '40s was not bad.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Since all of you cherish great flavors, the esteemed Andiesenji in particular, I would urge you all to try the pure suagr date palm raw sugars and molasses. The ones available here are found in Bangladeshi groceries and I cannot vouch for their purity, and it is the high demand outstripping supply that leads to this adulteration.

Date palm sugars are exquisite when prepared by an able artisan from a well-cultivated and properly tapped tree, all of which are now becoming rarer. That should not be, because the tree is so much more productive, i.e. more efficient than the sugar cane in Northern India, because the plant, unlike cane is tapped, not extracted by destructive harvest of the entire body as is cane.

But returning to the molasses, the first harvest of the season is turned into a golden syrup similar to maple but ever so much flavorful. The later taps are cooked down into round cakes of something like super-rich maple sugar, with an intoxicating quality of its own. Smi-refined sugar uedto be produced and was and still ishighly esteeme for its special quality & taste. I can see it finding a huge market wherever turbinado now sells well.

If any of you have friends living in -or going to- either Calcutta or Dhaka for their winter vacation, please persuade them to bring you the best quality NOLEN GOOR [the syrup] and PATALI GOOR [the solid cake]. Tell them to ensure thoroughly its purity and genuineness. Like Italian EVOO, something can be pure and yet not genuine; there are many little catches here!! They will NOT be offended.

The Bangladeshi contingent should be told to go to Jessore/Jhenaidaha/Shailkupa/Jhikargacha area for the best quality product. Faridpur is the secondary center. This is not an imposition; they will feel very happy to show off some of the best products of their country.

For those venturing into Los Angeles, I have heard about a sweet shop & small restaurant/grocery named ALADIN [sic] Aladin Sweets & Market, Inc. 139 S. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90004 ph: 213-382-9592 fax: 213-736-1800 alt: 213-276-7854 AladinLA@yahoo.com. You could call them and ask if any is in stock and their honest evaluation of its quality. The best way would be to visit with a Bangla speaker from Bangladesh.

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We have a local Indian market that sells palm sugar - I have written in other threads that this is the only sweetener I use when I make sambals, as well as several marinades - I have an almost full jar in my pantry.

I also buy jaggery and have a couple of the big "cones" in my pantry.

(I use a coarse carpenter's rasp to grate the stuff).

I also have a bottle of sweet palm vinegar that is almost like a syrup.

Note the jar of palm sugar in the center of this photo.

gallery_17399_60_33397.jpg

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have a question, v. gautam.

A few days ago I watched a program that included a segment on a fermented drink made from tapping a palm tree and I have in the past purchased "Toddy Palm" syrup and candy - a local Thai restaurant serves a "Toddy Palm" cake that is very sweet and sticky and also sells jars of the syrup and the fruit from the palm.

Is this the same palm to which you refer?

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Toddy palm is the second one I mention, Borassus flabellifer, also known as the palmyrah palm. Native from the Bahr el Ghazl in southern Libya right up to the islands of the Indonesian archipelago and even flooded areas of Cambodia, this palm survives extreme conditions of drought and seasonal waterlogging.

The Thai canned toddy palm fruit is supremely disgusting, and in no way represents the truly ambrosial quality that this species presents EITHER in its very immature stages OR in its ripened, luscious yellow pulpy form. They have harvested the intermediate stage that is neither fish nor fowl but gummy horror! You may go to the links below for more discussions, photographs and avant-garde coolers etc. made with the very young fruit.

The toddy palm's flower bud is tapped destructively, i.e. the entire unopened flower bud that looks like a giant fat sword is nicked at its distal end and the immature floral parts are carefully injured over weeks to induce phloem sap to exude from the cut. This palm continues to flower each year over its long life of over 5-7 decades, having reached full bearing capacity only in its 30th year.

The other very important palm in Thailand & Southeast Asia whose sap is freely mixed in with the toddy palm [hence my caution about many Asian products being pure but not genuine] isthe Arenga saccharifera. This is a monocarpic palm, flowering a single time at the end of a long growth period, many decades. Again, the enormous flower bud is tapped, and continues to produce sap for up to a decade, when the whole palm dies a natural death, just like the sago palm does.

Why I mention this, is because much of the palm sugar, and the GULA JAWA [derived from the Sanskrit GUDA, jaggery] often are an admixture of arenga and toddy/palmyra jaggeries. The former is pale, sweet, sticky and almost without a distinct character of its own [not that palmyra jaggery is any magical stuff either, but a little bit more interesting.] The rock candy prepared from palmyra, though, highly prized.

The sugar date palm i mention is distinct from the two above. It is smewhat more subtropical in origin & very closely related to the Phoenix dactylifera, the familiar date; so much so that it forms natural hybrids with that species where the two meet, in Pakistan. They differ in scant genetic details, and it my life goal to get the genome of this palm elucidated along with the date genome work already under way at the USDA. I have spent more than 25 years explaining and demonstrating the strategic value of this palm, even to this county and am happy to prove my point with extreme rigor to anyone.

Sugarcane in the wrong place, force to perform in roles it was never meant to handle, is one of the greatest socio-economic hazards seen by mankind. When we worry about the Taliban & Pakistan today, and send billions there, we do not remember the insidious role played by basmati rice & sugarcane in an arid land, grown by sharecroppers faced with continuously declining terms of trade. Khuzistan in Iran, another cane area wracked with problems, the Ganga Plain of India convulsed with frank peasant insurgency which by the government's own admission involves 350 million people, greater than the populations of Bangladesh & Pakistan combined!!

Misguided & compulsive use of cane is behind a great deal of this misery, to say nothing of environmental degradation. An American scholar wrote a study aptly titled "Raising Cane", but no lessons are being learned. Even worldwide, e.g. Argentina, Australia & South Africa their huge scope for the sugar date in the respective sugar industries.

The 2 sugar palms, date & toddy, have nurtured entire civilizations & economies in many parts of Asia: the South Indian, especially the TAMIL culture, civilization and kingdom emerged & flourished in an arid land BECAUSE they had a BACKBONE of the Toddy Palm. This was acknowledged in so many words in the literature of the region. The great kingdoms of Northern Burma another harsh & arid zone were dependent on this palm.

Several Indonesian Islands use the toddy palm sap as their staple carbohydrate source: they are too dry for any other crops. Fish & sap used to be the food of the inhabitants! Things may hve changed.

The civilization of Bengal developed on the back of the sugar date palm. Panini, the great grammarian, several centuries before the Common Era, notes that the name for Bengal, Gauda, is derived from Guda, jaggery, which at this period was almost purely date palm sugar.

But I need to stop here!!! I do wish though, I could have prepared for you fritters from the ripe palmyra pulp; another very simple preparation where the ripe pulp is gelled with the tiniest hint of slaked lime, having mixed in a hint of fresh grated coconut, and seen you enjoy the delicate young fruit.

http://www.gourmetindia.com/Indian-Recipes...=9757#entry9757

#56 showing immature toddy palm fruit being cut to release seeds

http://www.gourmetindia.com/Indian-Recipes...-t60.html&st=40

#44, the very young fruit in a cooler w/lemon grass & basil

http://www.gourmetindia.com/Indian-Recipes...&st=20&start=20

#25, in a dessert with mango cubes

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Wow, v. gautam. Impressive.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Thank You! v. gautam, that is exactly the information I want. I appreciate the links also.

My local Thai restaurant I mentioned serves other dishes, in particular some Indonesian as both of them spent several years in Indonesia before they emigrated to the US.

The jars of the fruit that they sell is not like other brands I have seen. The "fruit" is somewhat reminiscent of chunky applesauce and is quite aromatic. I haven't found it to be gummy - it has a sort of silky texture and is extremely sweet. They recommend serving it over ice cream or using it (in very small amounts) in or on cakes, puddings and as a filling for rice balls.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I'm a lover of molasses. Its great in muffins, cakes, and the occasional batch of beer.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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I use it religiously in my brine for poultry and pork. Basic brine is 6 C water (or OJ, Pineapple Juice, Apple Cider, etc.) brought to boil. While heating, add 2 heads of garlic sliced in 1/2 parallel to the root, 2 TBSP black peppercorns, 1 TBS Allspice Berries, 1 TBS Whole Cloves, 1-2 whole star anise broken into pieces, 5 or 6 bay leaves. Crushed ginger, lemongrass, etc. is optional. When liq. comes to a boil, add 1/4 to 1/2 molasses to the mixture, 1/2 cup of MORTON KOSHER salt (Red Diamond, use 3/4 cups) and 1 cup of sweetener (sugar, honey, etc.) stir to dissolve. Let cool to room temp, refrigerate and then add the meat when cold, brine (time will depend on the volume of the meat), rinse the meat and cook. just isn't the same w/o molasses.

Tom Gengo

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I have to have it for baked beans and molasses crinkle cookies. Sometimes I put a tiny drizzle in my habanero salsa recipe. And my 9-year-old daughter has developed a taste for molasses milk instead of chocolate milk. I tried it...I think she's onto something.

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>Enjoying every bite, because I don't know any better...

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  • 5 months later...

I finallllllly found molasses in my neck of the woods, however, it is not cane molasses-it's beet molasses...

Does anyone know if it will differ too much from regular molasses?

Sadly, I don't know what cane mollases should taste like so I have nothing to compare it to.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Love it. I am just now on a gingerbread streak. There is just something about the bitterness that I love. I've used Bill Neal's recipe, adding a little extra ginger and it's perfect for me. I ran out of molasses and(at Wegman's, the mecca)they had mild and robust varieties, which I had not seen before. I bought one of each and tried them straight before I made the 2nd bread. They taste very similiar, but I liked the robust one better; it did have amore rounded taste. I ended up mixing half and half for the recipe.

Molasses brownies sound good to me. I found 2 brownie recipes with molasses. This first one calls for 2 eggs, but it makes 2 9x9" pans. But it's odd in that it calls for confectioner's sugar. The recipe here: Molasses Brownies

This next one is more standard Molasses Brownies 2

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  • 6 years later...

Bumping this thread up as well, as it's sorghum molasses season and I bought "new sorghum" when I made a stop by my old home town during a road trip last week.

 

sorghum 1018.jpg

 

The first "new sorghum" of the year when I was a kid was always a big dead, and required a dinner centered around it. On the menu were slab bacon, scrambled eggs, crackling cornbread, and canned tomatoes (served on the side, in a dish), and lots of butter and sorghum molasses. I will be recreating that meal later this week, albeit with biscuits as I have no cracklings with which to make cornbread.

 

I'm curious to know if anyone has a familiarity with sorghum and can explain the change in taste that differentiates "new sorghum," in the first maybe month or six weeks after it's produced, from its taste as it matures in its jar or can. It's a bit more tart, acidic, almost citrusy to me. Later on, it becomes more mellow. I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for that. I'd love to hear it.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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As an Atlantic Canadian, like @Peter the eater, I live in something of a molasses heartland. You know those great big storage tanks you see at oil refineries and suchlike? Here in Saint John, there's one of those full of molasses along the harbour front. Saint John is home to Crosby's, the major Canadian molasses producer. 

 

Stores here sell it in the 4 litre (ie, metric gallon) plastic jug, as well as the more common milk-carton format. 

Edited by chromedome
Edited to reduce, ameliorate and elide redundancy and repetition (log)
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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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On October 18, 2016 at 2:29 PM, chromedome said:

As an Atlantic Canadian, like @Peter the eater, I live in something of a molasses heartland. You know those great big storage tanks you see at oil refineries and suchlike? Here in Saint John, there's one of those full of molasses along the harbour front. Saint John is home to Crosby's, the major Canadian molasses producer. 

 

Stores here sell it in the 4 litre (ie, metric gallon) plastic jug, as well as the more common milk-carton format. 

 

What do they charge for the 4 litre size?

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I don't recall, off the top of my head. I'll check next time I'm in Sobey's and let you know. 

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I'm a fan of molasses... but I've always wondered what they do with the rest of the mole.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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35 minutes ago, chromedome said:

I don't recall, off the top of my head. I'll check next time I'm in Sobey's and let you know. 

Thanks - I know Sobey's is the place I've been able to get the paper cartons much, much cheaper than elsewhere. Always funny when you go through the line with a dozen of them and people think you're baking!

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6 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

Moleskin of course!

 Yup I know you are making fun of me.   Until quite recently I truly believed there were people skinning moles so I didn't have to have blisters on my feet.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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3 minutes ago, Anna N said:

 Yup I know you are making fun of me.   Until quite recently I truly believed there were people skinning moles so I didn't have to have blisters on my feet.

In my next life I want to come back as a moleskinner - no wait - I don't!

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On 10/18/2016 at 10:59 AM, kayb said:

Bumping this thread up as well, as it's sorghum molasses season and I bought "new sorghum" when I made a stop by my old home town during a road trip last week.

 

 

The first "new sorghum" of the year when I was a kid was always a big dead, and required a dinner centered around it. On the menu were slab bacon, scrambled eggs, crackling cornbread, and canned tomatoes (served on the side, in a dish), and lots of butter and sorghum molasses. I will be recreating that meal later this week, albeit with biscuits as I have no cracklings with which to make cornbread.

 

I'm curious to know if anyone has a familiarity with sorghum and can explain the change in taste that differentiates "new sorghum," in the first maybe month or six weeks after it's produced, from its taste as it matures in its jar or can. It's a bit more tart, acidic, almost citrusy to me. Later on, it becomes more mellow. I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for that. I'd love to hear it.

 

The "new sorghum" fresh from the reducing pans has a higher acid content of about 4.0 ph. During storage the acidity modifies slightly and after several months will read about 5.0 to 5.5.  

On my grandpa's farm, the sorghum was stored in wooden kegs that had been "scorched" with charcoal (contained in a wire cage) on the inside.  They were stored like wine barrels on racks.  The molasses was later drained into gallon cans and sealed. Most was sold to small grocery stores in the region. There was usually a keg in the cellar with a tap for household use.

Cook kept the supply for immediate use in a big enamel coffee pot that always had a cloth draped over it. 

My cousins and I got to feed the fires under the reducing pans.  It took several days - the cane was cut and immediately hauled to the crusher because it had to be really fresh.  

The sap was filtered through heavy muslin cloths that were switched out and boiled in fresh water in a big old cast iron cauldron every couple of hours the funnel that fed into the dispensing pot where the kegs were filled had a stack of screens and perforated metal filters that were also cleaned in boiling water constantly.  Crystals would form in the corners of the final reducing pan and the "sugar man" would scrape the stuff out and give it to us as a treat.

My cousin Clark burned his arm on the edge of a pan trying to reach in and pick some out.  He did not try that again.

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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13 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

Thanks - I know Sobey's is the place I've been able to get the paper cartons much, much cheaper than elsewhere. Always funny when you go through the line with a dozen of them and people think you're baking!

 

Back when my parents owned their bakery, they quickly discovered that the loss-leader price on flour at a supermarket was lower than the wholesale price for small establishments like theirs. So one day I trekked with my father to the local IGA (long since gone) to help load up their little Subaru wagon with 10kg sacks of flour, at a wicked-low doorcrasher price. 

 

One of the staff was waiting for an elderly lady to bring her car around, so he could load her groceries. He gave us that "too many trips to the buffet" look employees sometimes use, and asked snarkily "Doing a little baking, are we?"

 

"No," I told him. "We're putting in a flour garden."

 

My dad still laughs over that one, 20-odd years later. 

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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There are a lot of You Tube videos  showing how sorghum molasses is made.  

Unlike most farms in Kentucky - my grandpa had two silos and the crushed canes were spread on a drying floor and allowed to dry for several days and then chopped and fed into the silo, along with corn stalks, for silage for winter feed.  

Nothing was wasted.  

 

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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My late wife was from Tennessee and we used to pick up sorghum syrup when we visited there.  Ran out years ago and haven't thought of it in a long time but may have to check availability here in AZ.  Good addition to a lot of baked goods!

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