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Blackstrap molasses refers to the liquid that remains as a by-product of sugar production. It is a black and sometimes dark brown liquid with a thick, sticky texture. Although it is usually used to make ethanol, cooks use it to sweeten foods and get a dose of nutrients at the same time.
What are Blackstrap Molasses Made of?
To make sugar, juice is extracted from sugar cane. This juice has to be boiled a few times to attain usable sugar. In the processing of boiling, blackstrap molasses form and can be poured into containers for storage. It might sound like a complicated procedure, but it can actually be done at home.
Health Benefits of Blackstrap Molasses
Most people assume that blackstrap molasses must be very sweet. This is an understandable misconception. Although molasses do contain sugar, it is less than you think. Blackstrap molasses lose most of the sugar during boiling process and the end result is tasty and nutritious.
Blackstrap molasses have several minerals worth mentioning. They contain iron, selenium and potassium. These minerals have been proven to energy, muscle and thyroid function. Other nutrients in molasses are magnesium, calcium and manganese. There are also traces of B vitamins disease immunity and when combined with sugar can release quick energy to keep you alert.
What are Blackstrap Molasses Used for?
Many cooks like incorporating blackstrap molasses in their baking. They help bring flavor to baked treats and are also used as natural sweeteners for hot beverages. In industrial circles, they are used to make health supplements for people suffering from bone, muscle, thyroid and heart disease.
How to Make Blackstrap Molasses at Home
If you are new to blackstrap molasses, it is best to purchase them from a store. However, you can try your hand at making them at home too. You will need:
- Several sugar cane stalks or sorghum
- A functional mill
- Cheese cloth or strainer
- A large pot
Cut the stalks of sugar cane and pull out the seeds. Sugar cane stalks should be cut 5-6 inches from the ground.
Once seeds are removed, place the stalks against a kitchen rack and leave to sit for 7 days.
Extract juice from sugar cane stalks by putting them through the mill. Run the juice through a strainer or cheese cloth.
Pour the sugar cane juice into a pot and bring to a low boil over low heat. Boil the juice for 5-6 hours.
After boiling for several hours, a green film should start appearing at the top and the mixture should be yellow and viscous.
Remove the green substance and remove from heat to cool. Repeat the slow boiling process again two more times, boiling the molasses until the green film appears. Scoop it out before returning the pot to heat.
After the third cycle of boiling, you should have dark-colored blackstrap molasses. Pour into a heat-resistant container and store for later use.
Blackstrap molasses are richly-textured substances that are used in everything from medications to baking. Look for recipes that call for blackstrap molasses to enrich your diet with its nutrients.