Sugar cane is mashed to create juice, and then boiled once to create cane syrup. A second boiling creates molasses. After this syrup has been boiled a third time, a dark viscous liquid emerges known to Americans as blackstrap molasses. It has the lowest sugar content of any sugar cane product.
Molasses offers a number of vitamins and minerals, such as B-vitamins (niacin or vitamin B-3, vitamin B-6, thiamine, and riboflavin) and essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, iron, phosphorus and sodium. Because blackstrap molasses contains both calcium and magnesium, it can help you guard against osteoporosis. About 5 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses contains 50 percent of the recommended daily allowance of calcium and 38 percent of magnesium.
People with anemia, a condition where your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells, often feel tired and weak. One type of anemia is caused by a lack of iron in the diet. Blackstrap molasses is a good source of iron. About 5 tablespoons of blackstrap molasses contains 95 percent of your daily allowance of iron. It helps in the absorption of iron, the formation of red blood cells and the maintenance of a healthy immune system. It is also rich in the mineral copper, which aids in reducing free radicals from the body. A deficiency of copper and iron can result in anemia, thyroid problems, cardiac arrhythmia, and.
Studies reveal that blackstrap molasses helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels. It has a moderate glycemic index and aids in slowing the metabolism of glucose and carbohydrates, which subsequently means less insulin production. This helps in preventing the accumulation of excess fats or lipids in the bloodstream. Molasses has the essential trace element chromium, which is valuable in relation to insulin action and maintenance of glucose tolerance in the body. Molasses contains the highest amount of chromium (0.266 mg/kg) as compared to refined white sugar and brown sugar. A deficiency of chromium may result in weak glucose tolerance, according to studies, which can lead to diabetes.
Molasses contains the essential mineral potassium, which is required for the proper functioning of cells. It helps in maintaining the acid-base balance of the body and prevents heat exhaustion. Potassium also plays an important role in nerve and muscle contraction and helps to maintain cardiac health. Adequate intake of potassium-rich foods like molasses may help in reducing.
Historically, molasses was produced in the Caribbean, where the cultivation of sugarcane and sugar beet was the highest. From there, it was imported to the United States during the early twentieth century. Today, it is produced on a large scale in Thailand, India, Taiwan, Brazil, the Philippines, and the United States.
Molasses comes in three varieties – light, dark, and blackstrap – all of which come from different foods processed into sugar. The nutritional content and quality of it depend on the method involved in its refining process, the ripeness of the plant from which it is extracted, and the quantity of sugar that is extracted.
The most common forms of molasses are made from either sugar cane or sugar beet juice which is boiled down to a syrup. Sugar crystals are extracted from the syrup, and the remaining dark liquid is molasses. Molasses can also be made from sorghum, pomegranate, carob, and dates.
Sulphured molasses is molasses that has been treated with sulphur dioxide as a preservative. However, since the sulphuring process can leave the molasses with a strong pronounced chemical flavor and is less sweet, most commercial molasses is unsulphured.
- Other names: Barbados, first, mild, sweet
- How it’s made: Light molasses is made from the first boiling of the cane or beet juice.
- How it tastes: It is the lightest in color, sweetest, and mildest in flavor.
- How to use it: This is the most commonly sold molasses, mostly used in baking. Light molasses helps to make cookies softer and bread crustier, and it can also be used in marinades and sauces
- Other names: full, robust, second
- How it’s made: Dark molasses comes from the second boiling of the cane or beet juice.
- How it tastes: Thicker, less sweet, darker, and stronger in flavor than light molasses.
- How to use it: It can generally be used in place of light molasses and is what gives gingerbread cookies their distinct color and flavor.
- How it’s made: Blackstrap is made from the third and final boiling of the molasses. It is considered the healthiest of all molasses since it retains the most vitamins and minerals.
- How it tastes: It is the thickest and darkest in color, and also the least sweet with a pronounced bitter flavor.
- How to use it: Since it is bitter, only use blackstrap molasses if a recipe specifically calls for it. Do not substitute it in recipes that call for light or dark molasses. Blackstrap molasses is great in savory dishes liked baked beans and pulled pork.
- While blackstrap molasses is derived from sugar and adds as many carbohydrates as other sugars, it may be digested more slowly, which may help stabilize blood sugar.
How to Buy
Buy the molasses the recipe calls for. Each molasses has a different flavor profile.
How to Store
Kept in a lidded jar at room temperature. A bottle of molasses can last for years.
How to Cook
Molasses is what gives gingerbread cookies their distinctive rich flavor. Molasses is popular for its use in baked goods like pies, fruit cakes, and baked beans.
Molasses is also used in the manufacturing of rum, which is one of the reasons that rum is so popular in the areas where sugarcane cultivation and molasses production is in abundance.
Molasses provides the rich, dark texture and flavor to brown sugar.
Molasses can be mixed with tea or coffee and can be also glazed on vegetables.
- As a natural health remedy, it can be diluted with water for a hair treatment or spread topically on the skin. Molasses extract is good for hair and it promotes healthy hair growth. It softens and conditions the hair, adds rich texture, and prevents it from prematurely graying.
- It has been effectively used for animal feeds. It is a source of carbon and is effectively used in horticulture to feed the microbes and boost the microbial activity of the soil. Beet molasses is also used to make fertilizer.
* Some people might develop allergic reactions due to sensitivity towards the sulfite present in sulfured molasses. Unsulfured molasses is free of sulfur dioxide and safe to use in such cases. However, it is always advisable to obtain medical consent before considering it as a therapeutic remedy for various medical conditions.