Whenever I buy molasses I forget to look up this stuff beforehand, and I usually stand there in the grocery aisle with a puzzled and panicked look on my face for a good five minutes before I pick up a package at random and hope for the best.
So that you too do not have to go through this, here is a little cheat sheet about the different kinds of molasses that you can buy. I know there are some other types that you can pick up, or that these may be labelled under slightly different names, but these are the main types that I usually find in the grocery store.
Fancy molasses – used for baking, cooking, or straight up as a syrup
Blackstrap molasses – can be used for some baking or cooking, tastes bitter, is often used for health reasons (I know someone who takes spoonfuls of the stuff as an iron supplement as it is easier to absorb than other supplements.)
Lite molasses – lighter in colour and flavour than fancy molasses, contains less sugar than fancy molasses
Cooking molasses (also known as dark) – a mix of fancy and blackstrap, good for sauces and cookies