Blackstrap molasses is the darkest and most flavorful kind of molasses. All types of molasses are produced during the process of boiling sugarcane or sugar beet juice to extract pure sugar. The sugarcane juice is boiled three times, and the sugar is extracted by centrifuging the juice after each boiling.
Blackstrap molasses is the molasses that is left at the end of the sugar extraction process after the last boiling. If the molasses were to be boiled again, it would solidify. Because of this, one of the names for blackstrap molasses is final molasses.
Some view blackstrap molasses as a nutritional supplement, but its primary use has not been for humans but as a way to enhance animal feed.
The first people to make molasses of any kind were likely also the people who invented sugar. Which means it was most likely invented in India around 500 BCE.
The term blackstrap dates back to the late 19th century. Its first appearance in print is attributed to Allan Pinkerton of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.
Blackstrap molasses flavor profile
Blackstrap molasses is sometimes described as a sweetener, which it is but only in the loosest sense of the word. Because much of its sugar has been removed, blackstrap molasses is the least sweet of the different molasses varieties. It is also quite bitter in a way that offsets its sweetness. It has a strong caramel flavor and a metallic aftertaste. The intensity of its flavor profile means that you will need to use it in small amounts to avoid overpowering other flavors in your dish.
Health benefits of blackstrap molasses
While blackstrap molasses is not quite the superfood that it is sometimes portrayed to be, it does have a higher nutritional content than most sugar products.
- Vitamins: Blackstrap molasses is not an exceptional source of any vitamin, but it does have a moderate amount of pyridoxine, otherwise known as vitamin B6. It also has smaller amounts of riboflavin and niacin.
- Minerals: The mineral content is where blackstrap molasses shines. It is a decent source of several essential minerals, including calcium, iron, and potassium.
The nutrients from blackstrap molasses make it useful for treating and preventing a variety of health problems, including:
- Iron deficiency anemia: The high iron levels in blackstrap molasses can help it to remedy iron deficiency anemia, which is characterized by fatigue, headache, and being lightheaded.
- Osteoporosis: Blackstrap molasses is a good source of both calcium and magnesium, both of which are important for fighting the loss of bone density that is the main characteristic of osteoporosis.
- High blood pressure: The potassium in blackstrap molasses can help to lower blood pressure, which is important since high blood pressure can cause strokes and other health problems.
Blackstrap molasses can be used as an ingredient in a variety of baked goods where it adds both flavor and color. It works just like light and dark molasses but contributes more flavor and nutrients along with a darker color.
Because of its strong taste, many people reserve blackstrap molasses for savory preparations like barbecue sauce and baked beans. Even so, you can use it in sweet ones as well, but you may need to use less of it. Blackstrap molasses can work in gingerbread cookies, granola, and as a healthy sweetener for oatmeal.