Molasses or Sorghum Molasses
"What are molasses?" "I thought sorghum was molasses." "I thought molasses was sorghum." "We always called it molasses."
There is a lot of confusion about molasses and sorghum. I hear these questions a lot. In my part of the country many of the older folks grew up with a sorghum patch on the back 40. Every fall they would cut the cane and press the juice before boiling it down into what they called molasses. This is what is now labeled as "sorghum molasses. It is great in baking but is especially savored on biscuits.
Molasses on the other hand is a byproduct of sugar production. Do you know what the real difference is between white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar or natural cane sugar? It's molasses. Brown sugar contains molasses whereas white sugar has had the molasses removed. Sugar begins in a similar fashion as sorghum however sugar cane is a slightly different plant. Instead of halting the boiling when the juice turns to syrup it is processed further until it crystalizes into sugar. It is then refined to produce the fine white or brown sugar you find on your grocery store shelves. Some of the molasses that is removed from the sugar in the refining process is packaged and sold. This type of molasses is great for baking but has a stronger flavor than sorghum molasses and is not as good for eating on a biscuits or pancakes.
So how can you know which item you're buying? They look very similar and both are called molasses. Sorghum Molasses will nearly always be labeled as sorghum or sorghum molasses. Sorghum will be prominently displayed on the label. Molasses will be called simply molasses though there are some variations such as blackstrap molasses which has a much stronger strong flavor.
Pick up a jar of fresh sorghum, bake a pan of old fashioned biscuits and sit down to a taste that will take you back in time.