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Blackstrap Molasses: A Pantry Staple That’s A Brain Booster, Hair Softener, and More

Blackstrap Molasses: A Pantry Staple That’s A Brain Booster, Hair Softener, and More

You probably have a jar of molasses in your pantry or kitchen cupboard—it’s the key ingredient in your baked beans, giving them that rich, signature flavor and sweetness. But did you know Blackstrap molasses is a type of molasses that contains an abundance of vitamins and minerals that are good for your health? 

How is Blackstrap Molasses Made?

Blackstrap molasses is a by-product of the sugar cane refining process, where sugar cane is crushed to extract the sweet juices which are then boiled. The result is molasses in varying degrees of color, thickness, and sweetness.

Types of Molasses

Basically, molasses is categorized by how many times the syrup was boiled, and sugar extracted. Molasses is extracted during the first (light), second (dark), or third stage (blackstrap) of boiling. Blackstrap is the darkest, thickest, and most concentrated molasses. It has a robust, bittersweet flavor in comparison to the sweeter light and dark varieties so it’s best used in savory recipes rather than sweets. Blackstrap molasses is also the most nutritious as it contains more essential vitamins and minerals than the other types of molasses. That extra boil concentrates those nutrients.

What Is Unsulfured Molasses?

You’ll also see sulfured or unsulfured varieties. Sulfured means sulfur was added during sugar production to keep the raw sugar cane fresh, kill unwanted bacteria, and whiten the sugar crystals. However, many cooks prefer to use unsulfured molasses to avoid any unpleasant aftertaste. Because molasses isn’t quick to spoil, preservatives aren’t necessary. Unsulfured molasses is also free of sodium dioxide, a preservative and a known allergen.

12 Health Benefits of Blackstrap Molasses

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a spoonful of blackstrap molasses might do the trick also. Blackstrap molasses is known for its iron content—one tablespoon contains about 20% of the daily value—but it is also a rich source of natural calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It is also a good source of manganese, vitamin B6, and selenium. And one tablespoon has only 42 calories. Here are more health benefits:

1. Healthy Hair—The anti-aging antioxidants selenium, manganese, and zinc in blackstrap molasses work from the inside out to soften hair, reduce hair loss and graying hair. Take a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses daily for a healthy head of hair.

2. Arthritis Reliever—The anti-inflammatory properties in blackstrap molasses ease the discomfort and symptoms of arthritis by reducing swelling, joint inflammation, and pain.

3. Promotes Strong Healthy Bones—Its rich supply of calcium supports healing and improves bone and connective tissue health.

4. Brain Booster—The calcium, magnesium, and B vitamins in blackstrap molasses fight fatigue, anxiety, and stress while enhancing brain function, mood, and focus.

5. Prevents Anemia—Because blackstrap molasses contains iron, it helps produce hemoglobin and red blood cells to prevent anemia.

6. Stabilizes Blood Sugar Levels—Its low glycemic index naturally slows glucose and carbohydrate metabolism, producing less insulin. It’s a healthier choice than refined sugar, especially helpful for people with diabetes.

7. Menstrual Relief—The iron, magnesium, and calcium in blackstrap molasses help reduce menstrual cramps and symptoms of PMS.

8. Healthy Skin—Use topically to soften and exfoliate the skin. Its lactic acid content can treat acne, eczema, and other skin conditions. To apply, wet the face and pat blackstrap molasses directed on the skin. Leave for five minutes before removing with a warm, wet cloth.

9. Digestion Aid—If you’re feeling over-full after a big meal, a spoonful of molasses might be the remedy as it stimulates digestion.

10. Constipation Remedy—Blackstrap molasses is a natural stool softener and prevents constipation.

11. Increases Stamina and Energy—Feeling sluggish? Consume a spoonful of blackstrap molasses to boost energy.

12. Natural Sleep Aid—When taken at bedtime, the calcium and magnesium help the body relax and promote restful sleep. Many people mix a tablespoon with warm milk (dairy or non-dairy) for a delicious sleepy-time drink.

It’s no surprise that this high-antioxidant superfood has been used for generations as a home remedy and dietary supplement for a variety of health and nutritional benefits. Nutritionists recommend taking one tablespoon a day to reap these benefits.

Does Molasses Go Bad?

An opened jar of molasses that’s been tightly closed after each use can last about a year. The key to prolonging shelf life is to keep the lid sealed tightly when not in use. Discard at first sign of mold, off-taste, or odor. Refrigeration is not necessary. If you choose to refrigerate, allow the jar to sit at room temperature before using, to make it easier to pour. And buy 100% organic, when possible.

Not Just for Humans!

gas tax

Blackstrap molasses is great for animals, too. For generations, livestock farmers have used it in cattle, goat, and sheep feed to stimulate the appetite, increase energy, and as a dietary supplement.  Your local feedstore most likely carries livestock feed enriched with molasses.

Additionally, dry powdered blackstrap molasses can be used to make compost teas that enrich organic and hydroponic gardening plants and garden soil naturally.

Check out the unusual story of the Great Molasses Flood of 1919!

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  • Rose says:

    I’ve always enjoyed the taste of molasses-straight from the jar. I was not aware of all the benefits-very good article, as usual! Thanks!

  • Mary Jane says:

    Wow! wonderful!

  • Abigail Jane says:

    Love this useful post! Molasses is such a handy ingredient to have around the house. I recently wrote a post for my blog on the benefits of flax seeds which this reminds me of.
    I really enjoy posts that focus purely on one ingredient so that we can learn the most about it on its own!

  • Joyce Alexander says:

    I have used blackstrap molasses for many years and had many falls on hard surfaces and never break a bone.Will continue to use in my cereal and coffee.

    • alroy crowder says:

      thanks for this post never thought about it use for my cereal but doing it now thanks again

  • Joyce Alexander says:

    I have used jockstrap molasses for many years and had many falls on hard surfaces and never break a bone.Will continue to use in my cereal and coffee.

  • Rosia Amanda Morrison says:

    Wow, reading this makes me appreciate the old ways even more. May just have to get me some next trip to market. Thanks for the article , loved it !!!

  • Susan says:

    Thanks for sharing very nice article

  • Dominick Graziani says:

    My mother used to mix it in a glass of milk for me when I was a boy. Now I’m an old guy and I still mix it . . . in my coffee. It has definitely slowed my (and my wife) thinning hair problem, and lessened the gray. The hair on my arms have actually returned to its original dark, almost black, color.

  • joanne devine says:

    I put a teaspoon in my morning coffee, try it

  • Angela Roney says:

    I don’t understand how one sentence says great for an energy boost then the next says great for sleep aid? Huh..?

    • Susan Higgins says:

      Hi Angela, mixed with a little warm milk it can be a real insomnia buster.

    • EMma says:

      It makes me sleepy . I use it for insomnia and then the next day I have more energy because I’ve had a good sleep. I can’t take it during the day or it makes me sleepy. Give me the best sleep with vivid dreams.

  • LaRene Grover says:

    Is Grandma’s Molasses strong enough to get these benefits from? I love the natural things we can use to help improve our health. Thank You for this article &all the great articles you’ve had over the years.

    • Susan Higgins says:

      Thank you LeRene, yes, Grandma’s is a very popular brand. We’re glad you enjoy our articles!

  • Kelly says:

    Some years back, the guy I was helping sold all out hay, leaving us nothing to feed the seventeen Limozines we were raising. He had to scramble for hay and ended up buying some big bales that were trash. Three feet of their diameter was charcoal, from being put up too wet.

    The cattle had little appreciation for the spoiled hay, when I put it out.

    I remembered my dad talking about feeding the cattle a mix of sawdust and molasses to stave off starvation during the depression.

    A few months back, we had bought three hundred gallons of molasses to spray on the orchard, as a foliant feed, but we never got around to using it. On a whim, I filled a five gallon bucket and poured it over some of the trash hay. I’m pretty sure a few of the cattle flipped me off. However, they were desperate and, eventually, forced themselves to try some.

    The next day, they saw me coming with the five gallon buckets and started bucking around like calves. The knew the candy was coming.

    The cattle survived and enjoyed their crap hay.

  • Hugh says:

    Excuse a old mans typing. Should say ewes not eyes

  • Hugh says:

    When I was in school my FFA project was my herd of sheep and showing the lambs at fairs. My eyes when pregnant would get pregnancy disease my Dad and Grandad would put out free choice molasses. The problem cured almost instantly. It was deadly to my eyes otherwise. Hope this helps someone getting started with sheep

  • Loretta Rogers says:

    My dad used to give it to use kids mixed in a glass of milk. It is soo good that way. Me, my sisters and brother loved it!

  • Diane says:

    What are the Side Effects?

  • Steve Ridling says:

    My dad used to put it on pancakes and in other foods, I’ve always loved the taste but thought it was just a sugary treat! I need to buy a jar! Thanks for the great article!

    • Selrisitai NA says:

      While it surely has healthy minerals and vitamins, I recommend taking it like medicine, rather than candy: A tablespoon a day, mixed with half a cup of milk—in order to preserve your teeth and keep your sugar intake low.

  • Solange Freeman says:

    I grew up in a family where molasses was a daily staple on the table. We would spread it on flatjack – a type of pancakes my Mom made. I am going back to eating it as suggested with at lease one tablespoon daily….

    • Selrisitai NA says:

      It’s not like no one’s ever heard of flapjacks, ha ha! I always thought flapjacks were just smaller pancakes.
      Turns out the large in circumference but thin in thickness pancakes I’ve always made are more accurately crepes.

  • rose says:

    Thank you-interesting article. I’ve always enjoyed the unique flavor of molasses; I like it more now that I know how many nutrients it has!

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