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Molasses Makes Baked Beans "Boston"
Baked beans sweetened with maple syrup were originally a Native American dish that early colonists learned how to make in the 1620s. Although large-scale slavery was never practiced in New England, with the rise of Triangular Trade, which involved the capture and sale of African slaves as well as trading of commodity goods, Boston became a major importer of molasses. It was chiefly used for making rum, but also became the bean sweetener of choice, and remains a hallmark of true Boston baked beans. Despite the label pictured here, traditional recipes will call for just plain molasses, and you shouldn't substitute blackstrap molasses unless you already know you're a fan of its stronger and more bitter flavor.