The Tasty and Healthful Benefits of Blackstrap Molasses
I used to be a teacher and sometimes when I blog I like to dust off that old teacher hat and give a little lesson. Today is one of those days. I love learning about beneficial/healthful things and passing that knowledge along to others. So today’s lesson is about the benefits of blackstrap molasses (or as we affectionately refer to it in our house–‘strap).
Let’s start at the very beginning–what is blackstrap molasses?? Glad you asked… 😉
Blackstrap molasses is a viscous substance, which means it has a thick, sticky consistency that’s between a solid and liquid. It is derived from sugar cane. Sugar cane, after it’s been harvested, is then boiled. That first boiling produces white refined sugar as well as a cane syrup, which can be made into a sweeter baking molasses. After several more boilings, what is left from the sugar cane and what is loaded with all the nutritional benefits of the sugar cane is blackstrap molasses. It contains all the minerals and nutrients absorbed by the plant and is also the highest and most nutritious grade of molasses (See this blog post for more info on molasses). Molasses has a very stable shelf life and rarely ever goes bad (unless contaminated by something dirty). Golden Barrel has given their molasses a shelf life of 4 years even after it’s been opened. As a matter of fact, a bottle of molasses that was dated 12 years old was just tested in the Quality Control lab at Golden Barrel and was found to be in perfectly usable condition! (We don’t recommend keeping yours for 12 years 😉 ) Just be sure to always store molasses in a cool, dry place (It is NOT necessary to store in the refrigerator, as some people suggest).
Here are some of the benefits of this superfood:
27% of the daily value for manganese
Manganese is an antioxidant that’s necessary for healthy bone structure, bone metabolism, and helping to create essential enzymes for building bones. It assists metabolic activity in the body. Important to nervous system and brain function.
25% of the daily value for iron
Iron metabolizes proteins and plays a role in the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells. One health benefit is the eradication of different causes of fatigue.
20% of the daily value for copper
Copper has anti-inflammatory actions that assist in reducing the symptoms of arthritis. It’s highly essential for normal growth and health.
20% of the daily value for calcium
Calcium is needed to build and maintain strong bones. Also assists in helping the heart, muscles, and nerves to function properly. Aids in the nervous system. Reduces risk to certain types of cancer, may help prevent migraines, and aids in blood clotting.
11% of the daily value for magnesium
Magnesium may reverse osteoporosis and prevent cardiovascular diseases. It regulates high blood pressure, treats diabetes, treats migraines, insomnia and depression.
9% of the daily value for potassium
Potassium aids in muscle contraction and nerve transmission, helps maintain proper electrolyte and pH balance in the body. It may help promote healthy blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.
So what’s a good way to implement this nutritious superfood into our diet? (wait…molasses cookies aren’t the most nutritious way??) Some people (including myself, when I first learned of the power of blackstrap several years ago), simply take it by the tablespoon-full. I remember the first time I tasted the sticky black stuff. I thought it tasted like licorice. It wasn’t horrible, but it definitely took some getting used to! I even got some friends to start taking it. One in particular, who took it every morning in his coffee, sang its praises in regard to his arthritis. He swore by the stuff and would buy it by the gallon. But as a mom of young kids, I had to find an easier way than by the spoonful. What was one way I could get this in my kids??
A milkshake. Why, of course! Actually the first time I tried to get my kids to taste blackstrap molasses was to simply add a tablespoon of it to a glass of milk (we use raw cow milk, but I’m sure you can use almond or soy just as well). My youngest (and pickiest!) downed his glass, as well as most of my husband’s. Success! I thought adding ice cubes to the milk and molasses would make it even tastier. So I threw those three ingredients into the blender and it was a hit. It has a sweet flavor to it, which kind of surprised me because if you taste it by the spoonful, it doesn’t taste sweet. (Helpful hint: coat your spoon with some coconut oil, then spoon out the blackstrap. The molasses will slide right off the spoon instead of sticking to it.)
My middle son wasn’t sold until I put some frozen strawberries in his milkshake. So, you can really use whatever you like, as long as there’s some ‘strap in there, you know your kids (and you!) are getting some great nutrition. This is a great drink to enjoy for a little afternoon pick-me-up, full of a healthy energy boost. I made it several days in a row for my oldest son as an after-school snack, as well as for myself.
Another way to reap the benefits of blackstrap molasses is by drinking it hot. Simply heat a cup of milk on the stove and add a tablespoon of blackstrap. Mix until combined and sip away. The robust flavor is sure to warm you right up. And of course dunking in a few molasses cookies never hurt anybody. 🙂
So if you’re looking for a great and tasty way to boost your energy while increasing your daily intake of vitamins and minerals, you need to try some ‘strap! Pick your preference (or try it both ways)–either hot or cold. And don’t forget to share some with the kids in your life!