Thursday, September 12, 2013

Blackstrap Molasses



I remember as a little girl, my dad used to pour a little bit of molasses in his oatmeal or whatever he was making, and then always lick the spoon clean. He loved it and thought it was the best thing ever. I on the other hand, thought that it was gross and just wanted my white table sugar to put on top of my rice crispie cereal.. Times have changed and I don't add table sugar in my cereal or my baking, and avoid it at all costs if possible. Not too sure if my dad still licks molasses off the spoon, but if he does, I at least know that there are some nutritional benefits inside that robust and distinctive flavour!

First things first, what is this stuff?

Blackstrap molasses is a by-product of the process of refining sugar cane into table sugar (sucrose). My mom always says "you're slower than molasses in January" and that's because it is a very thick substance. It is made from the third boiling of the sugar syrup and is therefore a concentrated byproduct, after the sucrose has been crystallized. There are three grades of molasses: sulphured, un-sulphured, and blackstrap. Blackstrap is the most nutrient dense.


It's a sugar though. Isn't sugar bad for you?

Molasses is actually a sugar that is good for you. It's different from white sugar which doesn't have any nutrients at all in it except simple carbohydrates that spike your blood sugar level. Blackstrap molasses is low on the glycemic index meaning that the carbohydrates are metabolized slowly, which demands less insulin production, and does not spike the blood sugar. This means that my dad licking it off the spoon when he wanted to satisfy his sweet tooth, isn't too bad of an option!


The nutritional content of Wholesome sweeteners brand
 organic unsulphured blackstrap molasses
The nutritional content of Rogers white sugar..... 
VS.





















Some of the minerals that are abundant in blackstrap molasses are: 

Iron: Blackstrap molasses is a great dietary recommendation for those who may be suffering from anemia. 

Folate: A natural source for folic acid and a few other B vitamins. Folate, B vitamins, and Iron all form synergistically promote red blood cell production. 

Calcium and Magnesium: Calcium and Magnesium are the best of mineral friends. They are necessary for the function of our nervous system, skeletal, and cardiovascular system. 

Potassium: Potassium is very important to maintain a calm nervous system and is important for the kidneys, that regulate and maintain body fluids.

Manganese: Manganese for creaky knees! A teacher of mine in college used to say that to help us remember one of the functions of this mineral. Weirdly, a deficiency of this vitamin often shows itself as creaky knees and achy joints! Manganese is necessary for the digestion of protein, glucose regulation and thyroid activity.

Other minerals that are in blackstrap molasses are copper, zinc, phosphorus and selenium

There's a little bit of vitamins too!

Although molasses is higher in minerals compared to vitamins, we can't forget about the B vitamins!

Vitamins B6 (Pyridoxine): B6 helps in the synthesis of red blood cells as well as in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. It is also important in protein metabolism. Women in-particular may be deficient of this vitamin due to taking birth control pills.



What do I do with it?
You can add blackstrap molasses to savoury dishes such as homemade baked beans and pulled pork. It is famous for being added to gingersnap cookies too to give it that deep flavour! Recently I've been experimenting with it and using it as a sweetener to my oatmeal, and granola recipes. You can get the oatmeal recipe here, but the granola recipe is not perfected as of yet! 

At the end of the day, with all of the above summed up, blackstrap molasses is really good for those with anemia, looking for a healthy alternative to sugar, and helps with the nervous system. 



Resources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrientprofile&dbid=85
http://www.naturalnews.com/026296_molasses_health_sugar.html
Photo credited to: http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-deal-with-blackstrap-70853


Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am an RHN-Holistic Nutritionist. The health information contained herein is to share my knowledge and recipes. Any information provided is not intended to treat or cure any disease, or to replace any discussions with a health care provider. You, the reader, are personally responsible for ensuring the safe application of anything described herein. Read the Scope of Practice, as well as the Code of Ethics of an RHN-Holistic Nutritionist.

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