Real Food Mama

Musings about cooking, eating and everything in between.

Molasses – A Much Maligned Sweetener August 14, 2009

Filed under: Fight Back Fridays,Recipe — realfoodmama @ 2:21 pm
Tags: , ,

I love Molasses. I have since I realized it was the reason Gingerbread tasted so amazing. It makes things a lovely shade of amber and it ads a “sticks to your ribs” quality to anything containing it. It also isn’t all that sweet, one of the reasons many people don’t like molasses. Unsulfured molasses is generally preferred not only for it’s flavor, but also for it’s purity. Sulfur is added to the refining process in some cases, however most organic molasses is unsulfured. If you use blackstrap molasses it can even have a slightly bitter flavor, even though it is made up of almost entirely sugar.

Molasses is also incredibly good for you. Although it is a by-product of sugar production, and therefor not an entirely un-processed food, it contains all the nutrients of the sugar cane which didn’t make it into the refined sugar. Blackstrap molasses tends to be touted as the most nutritious of molasses types. Molasses can be primary, secondary or tertiary (blackstrap), meaning it is from the first, second or third refining of the sugar cane. While each type of molasses contains vitamins and minerals, blackstrap is shown to have the highest iron content of any type. Here is the nutrition content of blackstrap molasses, taken from whfoods.com.

Molasses Nutrition whfoods.com

Molasses Nutrition whfoods.com

In addition to providing vitamins and minerals, molasses can also be used to induce microbial activity in soil, as a chelating agent to remove rust and turned into ethanol in order to run vehicles. I suppose this information may not help people develop a palate for molasses, but I found it fascinating. While learning the ins and outs of Chinese Medical Nutrition while in TCM school, we were taught that the addition of Molasses to congee, or rice porridge cooked so long it became nearly gelatinous, provide a tonifying and warming energetic and women especially were encouraged to add it to their recipe.

Molasses has also been responsible for explosions, such as the one which occurred January 15, 1919. Information can be found here.

All in all, Molasses is one of my favorite ingredients, both for baking and for savory cooking. Nothing makes a barbecue sauce better than molasses, and my recent bread experiment yielded fabulous results! I hope you all give this this versatile ingredient an honored place in your kitchen. Happy Eating!

    Barbecue Sauce:

1/4 c Apple Cider Vinegar
2 TBSP Molasses
2 TBSP Brown Sugar
2 tsp Tomato Paste
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
Dash Worcestershire Sauce

This post has been my contribution to Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays.

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