Blackstrap molasses is one of those foods that our grandparents or parents may have used to use, but now we have pretty much exchanged it for just plain ol’ sugar, or golden syrup, or at a push maybe treacle…. but even that is not seen around much these days.
I have been looking into some of these foods lately and discovering what we have really lost in swapping these old school foods out for something way more processed, and a little more appealing to the eyes. Personally I think there is something rather rich and tantalizing about this black stickyness called molasses, but anyway…..
There are a lot of foods that jump to mind, without even thinking that hard that we just don’t regularly eat anymore. When you start digging into it you realize how much nutrient value we have given up, that our grandparents and parent used to just get by eating everyday foods. So even though we may be eating pretty healthy meals day to day, with a little research, reading some old cook books and changing back to some of the foods we used to eat we could seriously boost our nutrient intake in a good way.
Think of these for example:
Wholemeal homemade bread vs. refined white bread from the supermarket or bakery…..
Slow cooked bone broths and soups vs. tinned, processed or dry soup mixes….
Homemade casseroles using garlic, onion and herbs for flavouring vs. packet seasoning’s……
Molasses, Honey or a little raw sugar used to sweeten homemade fruit loaves and cakes vs. store bought biscuits and sweets where nearly half their weight is refined white sugar!
So lets have a quick look at molasses…
* Blackstrap molasses is the strongest tasting molasses; it is the product remaining after the third boil in sugar cane processing.
* Compared to refined white sugar which has about 387 calories per 100g, blackstrap molasses has about 290 calories per 100g. In that 100g approximately 55% is sugar (glucose and fructose) with the rest being made up of vitamins, minerals, sodium and carbohydrates.
* Blackstrap molasses has significant amounts of Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper, Manganese and Selenium.
* Interestingly, the calcium to magnesium ratio in molasses is ideal for calcium absorption. Our body needs a lot of magnesium to effectively absorb calcium, and the ratio in molasses is spot on.
* It is also said to be effective for constipation and bowel problems because it is high in magnesium and helps to balance the pH of the stomach and intestines. Interesting huh?
Anyway… in saying all that, I do not think that molasses is a health food that should be consumed in large amounts…. it is after all sugar. However, the extra nutritional punch it packs compared to plain refined white sugar makes it an excellent (and affordable, I might add) sugar replacement.
It does have a strong and distinctive color and flavour, so can’t really be used out right in place of sugar, but I try to look for all occasions where it can. For example a little sweetness to balance flavours in beefy soups and casseroles, or it’s traditional use in Boston Baked Beans, or how about instead of brown sugar in gingerbread or fruit loaves etc. It’s just thinking outside the square.
Also one thing I have found is that if I have it in the cupboard, I just may use it.