Molasses is a nutritionally concentrated by-product of the sugar refining process.
The nutrients that white sugar loses during processing are retained in molasses.
Molasses is a source of calcium, manganese, potassium, and iron.
In fact, it actually provides more iron than red meat with fewer calories and no fat.
There are several different types of molasses. Light molasses (also known as Barbados), which is less viscous and higher in sugar, is produced the first time the sugar cane is boiled during processing.
Dark molasses, a thicker molasses created during the second sugar cane boiling cycle, is darker in color and lower in sugar.
Black strap molasses, created during the third and final boiling cycle, is the lowest in sugar and the most nutritious.
Sulfur dioxide may be added to molasses as a preservative. Some people are sensitive to it and it negatively impacts the flavor, so choosing unsulfured molasses is recommended.
Molasses imparts a stronger, more complex flavor and darker color to baked goods than sugar, as well as making them more nutritious.
However, it’s only about two-thirds as sweet as sugar and more acidic, so if you want to substitute molasses for sugar in a recipe, use 1 and 1/3 cups of molasses for each cup of sugar, add ½ a teaspoon of baking soda per cup of molasses to reduce the overall acidity, and reduce the recipe’s liquid content by one-third of a cup.
Store molasses in a cool, dry place. It keeps for approximately one year in a sealed container, and about six months once opened.
Molasses is particularly good with baked beans and in spicy cakes and cookies (especially gingerbread). It goes well with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Molasses can also be used to baste chicken or turkey, added to yogurt, or drizzled over sweet potatoes.
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