What is Blackstrap Molasses?

Author: Angela Fleming   Date Posted:30 September 2016 

Blackstrap mo-what???

You know that black syrupy stuff found in Nan’s pantry. It’s blackstrap molasses! To make it perfectly clear, blackstrap molasses isn’t just for Nan, it can be beneficial to almost all age groups (excluding infants).

Okay, but why, you ask!? Because it contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, that’s why!

What is blackstrap molasses really and why is it black in colour?

Blackstrap molasses, or treacle as the Brits call it, is a by-product of cane sugar. It is produced by extracting the juice from the sugar cane via diffusion or milling methods.

The juice is carefully boiled (3 times to be exact) until the water dissipates leaving behind syrup. The heating process causes the molasses to darken and turn black. But it doesn’t stop there, the raw sugar crystals need to be removed so the syrup is then placed in a centrifuge that forces the two to separate. The end result…….blackstrap molasses!

Delicious & nutritious sugar – how can that be?

We all know sugar can taste devilishly delicious but who would have thought it can be nutritious too? Well, that’s where blackstrap molasses comes in.

Due to the gentle processing of the sugar cane juice, a lot of the nutrients remain unharmed. Having just a small amount of blackstrap molasses, the amount used in a recipe or to sweeten a few hot drinks, can provide you with nutrients essential to your health.

Blackstrap Molasses

It contains a variety of nutritional vitamins and minerals* such as;

  • Iron: Red seal’s blackstrap molasses contains 2mg of iron per serving (2 teaspoons or 10ml).
    • This is 25% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) if you are an adult male or woman aged over 50. Blackstrap molasses has been a traditionally popular option for pregnant and menstruating women for this reason.
  • Calcium: 9% of your daily calcium requirements (for adults aged 30-70) are jammed packed into just 2 teaspoons!
  • Magnesium: Adults over 31 will get 7% of their RDI of magnesium by chowing down 2 teaspoons!
    • The magnesium and calcium content in Blackstrap molasses is an ideal ratio as magnesium aids in calcium absorption, which is beneficial for bone growth, development and mineralisation.
  • Manganese: 1 serving equals 20% of your daily requirements.
    • Manganese is involved in bone formation and development and aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, cholesterol and amino acids.
  • Phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, copper, cobalt & iodine.
  • Vitamins B1, B3, B5 & B6.
  • Antioxidants: Compared with other common sugars, blackstrap molasses has the highest antioxidant activity.
    • Blackstrap molasses contains an average antioxidant power (FRAP) of 4.894mmol/ 100g. Refined sugar, corn syrup, and agave nectar all scored less than 0.01mmol/100g.

*All nutrient values are based on Red Seal’s Blackstrap molasses.

Blackstrap molasses naturally contains a small amount of sulphur, however sometimes extra sulphur is added in as a preservative or to change the colour of the end product. Unsulphured blackstrap molasses is the most natural option.

How much can I have?

The composition of sugar in blackstrap molasses results in a glycaemic index of 55. That’s not really a low number and indicates that this shouldn’t be excessively used.

So while we’re not giving you permission to inhale the stuff, you can see how swapping refined sugar in recipes for blackstrap molasses can offer more for your health. Basically, you can use it anywhere you might use sugar, but aim to keep within the WHO recommended 6-9 teaspoons of sugar intake daily.

And remember that blackstrap molasses isn’t as sweet as sugar, so the flavour may take some getting used to.

You can read more about some uses for Blackstrap Molasses on our blog Blackstrap Molasses Recipes.

Written by Angela Fleming
Angela Fleming

Angela (BHSc Naturopathy) is a qualified naturopath who strongly believes in living a healthy and happy lifestyle. Angela believes being active, taking time out for yourself on a regular basis and consuming a balanced healthy diet (with the odd sneaky treat included now and then) is the fundamental key to keeping our minds and bodies in good health.

Angela loves to pass on her knowledge of healthy and happy living to her two young children, who love to experiment in the kitchen with her and train alongside her in Karate.


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