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What Is Blackstrap Molasses?

Photo taken in Kent, Ohio with a Panasonic Lumix digital camera (model DMC-LS75).

Blackstrap molasses — or simply blackstrap — is the dark, very thick molasses remaining after maximum extraction of sugar from the raw sugar cane product. This residual product of sugar refining is used in the manufacture of ethyl alcohol for industry and as an ingredient in cattle feed. The term is an Americanism dating to around 1920.

The third boiling of the sugar syrup makes blackstrap molasses. The majority of sucrose from the original juice has been crystallized, but blackstrap molasses is still mostly sugar by calories. However, unlike refined sugars, it contains significant amounts of vitamin B6 and 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.

In his book, Crude Black Molasses: The Natural Wonder-Food, British nutritionist Cyril Scott claimed success in using blackstrap to turn grey hair back to its original color and success in using to help with anemia, rheumatism, arthritis, ulcers, colitis, varicose veins and benign tumors. Also ulcers, dermatitis, hair damage, eczema, psoriasis, angina pectoris, and nervous conditions may also respond to supplementing the diet with mineral-rich molasses.

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