Molasses is a thick, light, or dark syrup. A byproduct of cane or beet sugar refinement, it’s one of the most common baking ingredients (think gingerbread cookies and syrups for pancakes). Many prefer it because it has a higher nutritional value than conventional sweeteners.
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What is molasses?
Molasses is a thick syrup that is the byproduct of the sugar refining process involving sugar cane or sugar beets as the source plants. In the culinary world, it’s one of the most used sweeteners in baking and making marinades and sauces.
|Origin||Mentioned 1582 in printed publication of a Portuguese book, comes from the juice of sugar cane and beets|
|Appearance||Thick consistency and high viscosity, light or dark brown|
|Flavor profile||Depends on the type, from sweet to bitter|
When extracting sugar from cane and beets, the mashed plants release juice. Manufacturers remove the beet or cane sugar after crystallization and boil the remaining juice.
Besides being a byproduct of sugar refinement, manufacturers can make molasses from dates, pomegranate, and sorghum syrup.
Molasses was first found in 1582 in printed publication of a Portuguese book about the conquest of the West Indies, where sugar cane and beets were heavily grown. This ingredient was first exported to the US, originally for rums.
Today, it’s more widely known as a key component in baking and creating pastries. When making baked beans, molasses give that needed viscosity to keep the beans firm. Manufacturers also use it to make the well-known brown sugar (which is essentially molasses mixed with white sugar).
Reminiscent of honey, molasses has a thick consistency and high viscosity. Its color ranges from light to dark, depending on the type. The type varies depending on how many times the juice is boiled.
Molasses differ in color depending on their type. The flavor also varies.
|Light||Contains high amounts of sugar, sweeter than dark|
|Dark||Has a more intense flavor|
|Blackstrap||Bitter, thick, and dark|
Light molasses, made from the first boiling of the juice, contains high amounts of sugar. It’s sweeter than dark molasses (the molasses manufacturers get after the second boiling).
While light ones are perfect for pancakes, dark molasses’ more intense-yet-less saccharine flavor is ideal for gingerbreads.
The third boiling round produces blackstrap molasses, characterized by incredible thickness and dark color. Compared with the two, this is the most bitter.
People also categorize molasses depending on the source plant:
- Cane molasses, the most commonly used in the US, is the preferred sweetener
- Beet molasses, which isn’t as sweet and is used for animal feeds
In terms of form, there are powder, liquid and granulated molasses.
Nutritional Benefits of Molasses
You can use bulk molasses instead if you’re looking for a sweetener with more vitamins and minerals than refined sugar. You will get manganese, magnesium, copper, potassium, and calcium in a tablespoon of this syrup.
Among the three main types, blackstrap molasses contains the highest nutritional value. It’s also a good alternative if you’re trying to maintain healthy blood sugar levels since it has a lower glycemic index than traditional sugars.
Thanks to the micronutrients it contains, molasses can potentially benefit bone and heart health. It’s also friendly for people following gluten-free and non-GMO diets.
You may also want to opt for unsulphured molasses to stay away from preservatives.
Is using too much molasses harmful?
Although it’s a healthier way to cater to sweet cravings, you must consume molasses in moderation.
Consuming it in excess can increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Like other sweeteners, it’s still a source of sugar and calories.
Where to buy molasses in bulk?
Whether you want to buy a pail of molasses or jugs of it, you have several options. You can get them in grocery stores and wholesale clubs, typically in the baking section.
You can also try food cooperatives and natural food markets. For convenience, you can simply order and checkout from online retailers like Amazon.
Note that molasses (when unopened) can last for a year when stored at room temperature. The shelf life shortens to 6 months after opening.
Best bulk molasses suppliers
- Baker’s Authority
- Indiana Sugars
- Hummingbird Wholesale
- Weaver’s Country Market
- BulkFoods or Great American Spice Co (for molasses powder)
- Beanilla (for granulated molasses)
When buying bulk molasses, you must always compare prices, check shipping fees, and browse customer reviews to get the best bang for your buck. You can even write a review after trying what you bought to help other consumers.