Blackstrap Molasses is a byproduct of cane sugar manufacturing. After the sugar cane is crushed and the juice extracted, it is boiled to allow the sugar to crystallize. Some sugar is removed and the process repeated. The final molasses product is the syrup left over after the third boiling and sugar extraction. At this point it contains concentrated nutrients from the cane plant.
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It is a dark brown syrup, very thick and viscous, with a strong flavor. It is the darkest and most nutritive molasses.
Sometimes used as a supplement by people who are anaemic because of it's high iron content. It is actually the waste by product of sugar cane and was once only considered fit for animal consumption. However, because sugar cane plants have deep roots, and are able to absorb high quantities of nutrient from the soil, the molasses is very rich in minerals and vitamins. Can be used in certain recipes and for basting chicken, but cannot be used anywhere a sweetener is called for due to it's strong taste. Good for gingerbread.
In addition it can contain up to 20% free fructose, and this is in addition to the sucrose content. Therefore they should be counted as part of the refined sugar in the diet and taken in moderation. (As should fruit juices and honey).
Although often sold in health food shops it is really a form of refined sugar, it does not exist in nature. It contains no fiber, is almost pure carbohydrate and is high glycemic. Moderation is the key word, a spoon or two per day substituting for other refined sugars. Cannot be considered a health food, but has benefit in small quantities.
Due to it's high copper content, it is supposed to delay or reverse the onset of grey hair. Almost certainly an old wives tale!!
Sugar Cane that is not fully ripe is often processed with sulphur to assist with the crushing process. Some residue may remain in the product and end up being concentrated in the molasses. Good idea to choose only Blackstrap Molasses that clearly states 'unsulphured' on the label.
Conclusions and Summary:
Make sure to choose unsulphered Blackstrap Molasses, it is by far the best grade. Moderation is essential, it should be used to replace sugar in the diet, not in addition to it. Not suitable for diabetics. It has health benefits but is essentially a refined sugar, and should be treated as such.
Taste: -------- Strong!
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