(Click to enlarge.)
How the heck do you make molasses and what is it anyway? First you grow sugar cane, of course, then the stalks are fed through a mill, the liquid drained off, cooked down and put in glass jars. It makes a sweet, syrupy, dark liquid that can be used as a sweetener. Here's a great WV blog out of Beaver with people that still keep up the tradition:
http://www.ars.usda.gov/main/docs.htm?docid=19003 (You'll need to paste this in your URL.)
Notice their mill was turned in the author's childhood by a mule walking in circles and today is powered by a tractor. I'm wondering what my grandpa used. I do remember molasses, though...on biscuits and pancakes and in gingerbread and cookies. Yum!