Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M is for Molasses




God bless Wikipedia.org

When the cornfields had been flooded by heavy spring rains and over-flowing creeks, Dad would drive slowly down the road looking at the fields.  Yellow stalks meant that the corn would either fail or the crops would be minimal.  

He would sigh, shake his head, saying "Sorghum this year".


To salvage the money loss, Dad plowed up the fields as soon as the mud dried enough, planting sweet sorghum which had a shorter growing time.  Ground and chopped up, the cane oozed a green sap to be boiled down to make molasses..  the video below shows Roy and Doris Moore of Tennessee making molasses the old-fashioned way.  

This wuz how it wuz done...about 6 minutes long...fast forward? Go get a cup of coffee and just listen?

After all the time, work, and patience spent, deep black sweet molasses emerged, pouring from the tap, glugging all the time.

People from all over the county somehow knew the molasses was ready. They just showed up with jugs, jars, and even vats.  The molasses maker was a man named Daniel Boone.  Honest--his name was Daniel Boone.

Molasses was a substitute for sugar in WW2, and was even used to make hair products (? yes).  Perhaps the least talked about use for molasses was that it could produce excellent rum.  All that was needed was a still.

My Grandfather Cardiff had a still.

My Grandmother Marie did not know this.

There is a great story to be told about that time, a post in the future on  my other blog site:http://susankanewriter.blogspot.com


M is for Molasses.  ***


Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton in Tennessee, in 2007, the year of his arrest
***In England, molasses is called treacle.

36 comments:

  1. What wonderful memories, and I loved the comment that Grandmother Marie didn't know about the still.

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    Replies
    1. He had some secrets back in those woods!

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  2. I remember my grandmother talking about sending the kids off to school with molasses sandwiches.

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    1. Dad had butter and molasses sandwiches. The butter and molasses stirred in together is pretty good.

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  3. Slower than molasses in January....that sticky sticky goo. I have a few recipes using molasses including one for baked beans....mmmm....baked beans.

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    1. baked beans...mmmm. I have a recipe for molasses cookies...mmmm

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  4. It is a sticky situation when the crops fail. Sweet post!

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    1. Sticky situation, indeed. Molasses was lucrative (rum) so some farmers devoted fields to planting sorghum.

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  5. I Love that last line about the still. Too funny.

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    1. My folks talked about stills (active) in the "hollers" around our town, and that was the 60s.

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  6. Whew, that's some work right there! No one in the video seems adverse to it though, or put off by it, and that's the best part of it to me. :)

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    1. The Amish make a goodly amount of molassses.

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  7. Grandmother Marie didn't know this - funny!
    I didn't know sorghum was used to make molasses.

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    1. In researching this, I learned more about the true process. My mom was a little lean on this story.

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  8. My parents like molasses as a sweetener. I never did. It was good in gingerbread, as I remember.

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    1. ...in chocolate and ginger cakes as well. No, I don't like it as a sweetner either--too strong.

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  9. I never knew it could be used in rum.

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    1. Not that it is a well-kept secret, but even the Colonists made use of it. In the musical, 1776, an awesome song (sung by a representative from So. Carolina) is "Molasses to rum to slaves...." I don't know the exact wording.

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  10. It's a wonderful source for iron :)

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    1. I bet it is. A natural product like molasses would contain good stuff.

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  11. Thanks for such an interesting post. I think I'm more familiar with molasses from sugar beets and sugarcane but remember seeing sorghum in the store, so now I'm curious to read the label. I Googled it and see there is a difference. Either way, love the taste. Time to make some Molasses milk or GingerSnaps!
    Inventions by Women A-Z
    Shells–Tales–Sails

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    1. Glad you stopped by! I think the difference might be location and weather.

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  12. Are you sure Grandmother Marie was ignorant of the still? Or was she just lyin low, saying nuthin Brer Rabbit?

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    1. No, I think she believed in the best part of Lewis, even though he was an inveterate sinner. She did find out about the gin, though.

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  13. Great video, these guys know how to make up a real gargle blaster.

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    1. An incredible amount of work for two old folks.

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  14. I like molasses. It is also rich in iron. When my mom's blood was very low and she could not take the iron pills, she ate liver (she smothered it in tomatoes and onions), spinach and molasses. In 1 month her blood was aok

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  15. This is the second molasses post I've seen today. I don't think I've ever tried it.

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    1. You mean another blogger wrote about molasses!! Excellent!

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  16. That's hilarious that your grandfather had a still and your grandmother didn't even know about it! Your post is proof that the saying "slow as molasses" came from personal experience.

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    1. It takes time to make a tasty product...

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  17. I bought a jar of molasses once to try a molasses cookies recipe, but it is too strong flavoured for me and the cookies got thrown out. The jar lived in the back of the cupboard for a few years, then I threw that out too. Treacle may be the same thing, but the flavour isn't quite as strong. I prefer malt syrup for cookies, it's a whole different taste, made from barley and rich in all the B vitamins. i have a teaspoon of that every morning.

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  18. What an amazing insight into molasses, I always thought it only came from sugar cane. Love the bit about your Grandfather's still and Grandmother not knowing about it. Dropping in from the A to Z I have given your blog a shout out from my letter N today https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!