Happy January 1st! This month I’m starting a new series called INGREDIENT OF THE MONTH. Each month I take one of my pantry staples and share it’s nutritional properties, tips and uses, and recipes. Without further ado, January’s ingredient is…
I’m definitely in the mood for blackstrap molasses more so in winter (hello Gingerbread!). For the whole month of January I will be making delicious recipes of my own and of other food bloggers’, so be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram so you don’t miss out!
a quick overview
Blackstrap molasses has been gaining popularity for its high iron and magnesium content. Alone blackstrap molasses may taste bitter and seem off-putting, but used tastefully in recipes it can lend a great gingerbread or slightly sweetened flavor. There are three kinds of molasses and blackstrap is the darkest and most bitter in flavor.
What is blackstrap molasses?
Blackstrap molasses is produced when sugar cane has been mashed and boiled three times. Normally during a refining process of a food the beneficial composition can be lost or decreased. But in blackstrap molasses’ case, its beneficial ingredients stay put.
Does it matter if I buy any kind of molasses, or must I buy blackstrap?
If you are looking for the highest health benefits, definitely buy blackstrap. There are three kinds of molasses available: light, dark, and blackstrap. Light molasses is produced after the first boiling of the cane sugar. It has the least amount of nutritional properties, and is also the sweetest. Dark molasses is probably the most well-known, as it is popular in baking and cooking (think gingerbread cookies!). It is what’s produced after the second boiling of cane sugar. Blackstrap, as we already know, is produced after the third boiling of cane sugar. It is by far the healthiest of the three, but because of its bitter and/or acquired taste, people often wonder what they can do with it.
Nutritional Properties and benefits
As mentioned above, blackstrap molasses is extremely high in iron, as well as many other minerals. Just 100 grams of blackstrap molasses delivers 26% of your daily iron (good for , 77% of your daily manganese (good for ), 61% magnesium (), 42% potassium (), and 34% of Vitamin B6 (), and 20% of calcium. (source: Draxe)
Blackstrap molasses can help alleviate pains related to PMS symptoms and can improve your skin tone. There have been studies showing that blackstrap molasses can heal lesions and help alleviate acne – heyyyo! ( hand raised)
Taste, texture, and substitutions
A little heads up – you probably are NOT going to like the taste of it by itself. BUT I would recommend just taking a little spoonful of it alone if you haven’t yet before just so you can get acquainted with it and know what you’re working with.
The taste is definitely a bit bitter, and only a tinnnnnny bit sweet.
It’s texture is thick and goooey, like honey.
Possible substitutions? I’d go for honey.
How do I use it in my cooking?
Blackstrap molasses can rarely be interchangeable in recipes with light or dark molasses. If you do choose to substitute, TAKE CAUTION. The bitter taste of blackstrap can overpower your finished recipe and as it doesn’t contain as much sugar as light or dark molasses, the recipe may not turn out as sweet as intended. (Keep this in mind if you check out my Pinterest board, where there are recipes for all three types of molasses)
You won’t come across many recipes – especially savory – that have blackstrap molasses. The most convenient way to get its full nutritional benefits is to simply add a tablespoon (or more, depending on taste) to various dishes. Here are my favorite ways to incorporate it into my daily diet:
Add to your coffee or latte
Put in your smoothies
Add a tablespoon into your morning oatmeal or cereal
Use in baking, especially for granola and breakfast bars or cookies.
Add one or two tablespoons to a sweet treat for an added nutritional boost
My favorite recipes containing blackstrap molasses:
Blueberry and Blackstrap molasses smoothie
Ginger Honey Switchel from Wellness Mama (sub in molasses for honey)
Follow my Pinterest board for more recipes and inspiration!
to sum up:
- Blackstrap molasses can rarely be interchangeable in recipes with light or dark molasses. If you do choose to substitute, TAKE CAUTION. The bitter taste of blackstrap can overpower your finished recipe. Since it doesn’t contain as much sugar as light or dark molasses, the recipe may not turn out as sweet as is intended. (Keep this in mind if you check out my Pinterest board, where there are recipes for all three types of molasses)
- Particularly beneficial for those low in iron and may be experiencing fatigue or weakness.
- May help relieve acne and PMS symptoms
- The easiest way to include it in your recipes is to simply add a tablespoon into a drink, your smoothie or cereal, or a sweet treat or snack!