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Jewish Recipes --> Jewish and Israeli Foods --> Molasses

Molasses (American English) or treacle (British English) is a viscous by-product of the refining of sugarcane, grapes, or sugar beets into sugar. The word comes from the Portuguese melaço, ultimately derived from mel, the Latin word for "honey". The quality of molasses depends on the maturity of the source plant, the amount of sugar extracted, and the method employed.

Sweet sorghum is known in some parts of the United States as molasses, though it is not a true molasses.

Cane molasses

To make molasses, the cane of a sugar plant is harvested and stripped of its leaves. Its juice is extracted usually by crushing or mashing, but also by cutting. The juice is boiled to concentrate it, which promotes the crystallization of the sugar. The result of this first boiling is called first syrup, and it has the highest sugar content because comparatively little sugar has been extracted from the source. First syrup is usually referred to in the Southern states of the USA as "cane syrup", as opposed to molasses. Second molasses is created from a second boiling and sugar extraction, and has a slight bitter tinge to its taste.

The third boiling of the sugar syrup yields blackstrap molasses, known for its robust flavor. The term blackstrap molasses is an Americanism dating from around 1875. The majority of sucrose from the original juice has been crystallized and removed. The food energy content of blackstrap molasses is still mostly from the small remaining sugar content. However, unlike refined sugars, it contains trace amounts of vitamins and significant amounts of several minerals. Blackstrap molasses is a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron; one tablespoon provides up to 20% of the daily value of each of those nutrients. Blackstrap has long been sold as a health supplement. It is also used in the manufacture of ethyl alcohol for industry and as an ingredient in cattle feed.

Sugar beet molasses

Molasses made from sugar beet are different from sugarcane molasses. Only the syrup left from the final crystal ligation stage are called molasses; intermediate syrups are referred to as high green and low green, and these are recycled within the crystallization plant to maximize extraction. Beet molasses is about 50% sugar by dry weight, predominantly sucrose, but also contains significant amounts of glucose and fructose. Beet molasses are limited in biotin (vitamin H or B7) for cell growth; hence, it may need to be supplemented with a biotin source. The non-sugar content includes many salts, such as calcium, potassium, oxalate, and chloride. It also contains the compounds betaine and the trisaccharide raffinose. These are either as a result of concentration from the original plant material or as a result of chemicals used in the processing, and make it unpalatable to humans. Hence it is mainly used as an additive to animal feed (called "molassed sugar beet feed") or as a fermentation feedstock.

It is possible to extract additional sugar from beet molasses through a process known as molasses de sugarization. This technique exploits industrial-scale chromatography to separate sucrose from non-sugar components. The technique is economically viable in trade-protected areas, where the price of sugar is supported above the world market price. As such, it is practiced in the U.S.  and parts of Europe. Molasses are also used for yeast production.

Cane molasses is a common ingredient in baking and cooking. One of the following may be substituted (in varying proportions) depending on whether the dish is sweet or savory:

  • Black treacle
  • Honey
  • Sweet sorghum syrup
  • Barley malt syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Brown sugar
  • Dark corn syrup
  • Kecap manis, a thick Indonesian soy sauce sweetened with palm sugar

Other forms

In Middle Eastern cuisine, molasses is produced variously from carob, grapes, dates, pomegranates, and mulberries. In Nepal it is called chaku (Nepal Bhasa: चाकु) and used in the preparation of various Newari condiments such as yomari. It is also a popular ingredient in ghya-chaku.

Other uses Food products and additives

Molasses can be used as:

The principal ingredient in the distillation of rum
In stouts or Porters
An additive in tobacco smoked in a hookah, shisha, or narghile (found in the brands Mazaya, Al-Fakher, Nakhla, Tangiers and Salloum)
An additive in livestock feeds
An ingredient in fishing groundbait
A source for yeast production.
An iron supplement

Grandma’s Original Molasses

Sept 2005 - 2013 - Kosher Recipes - Kosher Cooking - Jewish Cooking - Jewish Recipes - Jewish Foods- Jewish Foods
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Bagels.