What is molasses? Did you know that, if you like to eat Chinese food, you must have eaten them for sure, especially in chicken rice dipping sauce or stir-fried soy sauce noodles, because molasses is one of the main ingredients in sweet soy sauce and also barbecue sauces.
In some sauce brands, molasses make up 60-70% of the total ingredients. But what is it actually? Is it a threat to our well-being? Is it useful? Read on, and we will shed some light on these issues.
What is Molasses
They are actually a viscous black liquid which is a by-product of sugar extraction.
First of all, let me tell you a bit about sugar extraction. The process starts from boiling the sugarcane juice until it dries up and become sugar crystals. The crystals are then separated with a blender pot and what remains after the sugar crystals have been separated is the molasses.
The factory will repeat this process several times and each time a different type of molasses will be produced. Many people would definitely be more familiar with it, if we were to refer to it as cane syrup.
Oh, and what about the molasses that are being sold at stores selling plants, can they be eaten?
The answer is no. There are many grades of molasses, of which the better ones are used for food. The lower grades will be used as fertilizer or animal feed.
How many types of molasses are there?
This type of molasses is the result of the first extraction of sugar. The resulting molasses are light in color and have a sweet taste as they still contain a high content of sugar. They are popularly used to make sweets or desserts.
Is the result from the second extraction process. It is less sweet, darker in color, and more viscous. It is usually used in confectioneries, barbecue sauces and food coloring.
This type of molasses is obtained from the third sugar extraction process. It is less sweet, often bitter, dark black in color, and very concentrated. However, this type of molasses contains the highest nutritional value, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is commonly used in the food industry, such as soy sauces, and barbecue sauces.
Preservatives vs. No Preservatives
If you’re thinking of buying molasses, you might have probably see several brands stating: “Unsulphured”. This actually means that the particular brand of molasses does not contain sulfur dioxide, or in other words, no preservatives.
Nutritional Value of Molasses
1 tablespoon of molasses usually contains the following nutrients:
(Unit expressed as the % of the body’s daily needs)
• Manganese 13%
• Magnesium 12%
• Copper 11%
• Vitamin B6 8%
• Selenium 6%
• Potassium 6%
• Iron 5%
• Calcium 3%
• Energy produced from carbohydrates: 58 calories
Health Benefits of Molasses
• Enhances bone strength, due to the high calcium content.
• High in potassium helps in lowering blood pressure.
• From animal experiments, molasses contributes towards increasing good cholesterol (HDL), and reducing the risk of heart diseases.
• Blackstrap molasses contains more antioxidants than honey and other sweeteners. Helps to prevent cancer.
Health Risk of Molasses
Although molasses are more nutritious than sugar, but the fact remains that they are actually another form of sugar. Over consumption can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and digestive issues.
Therefore, molasses should not be taken as a dietary supplement or just for their nutritional value, but should be consumed as a sweetener as it is a better alternative to sugar.
BearDuck, is a game designer and illustrator, who started out on a daring journey, interested in mindfulness, self-improvement, and street food. It currently has over 160,000 followers on Facebook.