Molasses is a popular ingredient used in many desserts. The dark brown sugary syrup is a by-product of sugar production. Technically, Molasses is plant-based, but not all Molasses is vegan.
Molasses is used in various recipes such as spiced bread, muffins, cakes, and sauces. It is a common ingredient in BBQ sauce and it is a common food in a vegan diet.
But is this sugary syrup vegan? Read on to learn more about it.
What is Molasses?
Molasses is a dark sweet syrup that is a byproduct of the sugar refining process. It comes from sugarcane but is also made from grapes and beets.
Molasses has many names like sweet sorghum in the US, or treacle in the United Kingdom. It comes in different varieties, but the most common is blackstrap molasses which is very dark in color. It is also called black syrup.
As already discussed, Molasses is a by-product of the sugar milling process. The first step in sugar cane processing is to remove the cane juice from the pulp. After the juice is extracted, it is boiled three times to make sugar.
- First boil: It yields light molasses or cane syrup.
- Second boil: It produces thick, slightly less sweet molasses that are dark in color.
- Third boil: It makes blackstrap molasses. It is almost black, dark brown in color and is very thick.
Is Molasses Vegan?
Even though sugarcane is plant-based, there is some grey area when it comes to determining if it’s vegan. Technically, molasses is considered vegan, but not all brands are vegan.
That is because white sugar is not considered vegan. White sugar comes from sugarcane, but it is processed with bone char for bleaching purposes. Bone char comes from animal bones.
Even though molasses is removed from sugar before adding bone char, nothing can be said with surety.
Therefore, molasses itself doesn’t contain any animal product, but it’s still a by-product of a process that uses bone char which is considered non-vegan.
Some vegans consume white sugar, while most stay away from it because of this very reason. The good news is that the sugar industry is rapidly moving away from the use of bone char during processing, so pretty soon you won’t have to worry about it being vegan or not.
There are various vegan blackstrap molasses brands that are available in the market. There are syrups available as well.
Benefits of Molasses
Molasses is much better than traditional white sugar because it loses most of the sucrose during the refining process. With every boil, more sugar leaves the syrup, so the final product is less sweet.
Blackstrap molasses contains 40% less sucrose than sugar. In the past, people used molasses as a cure for various ailments like constipation, menstrual cramps, and arthritis.
Blackstrap molasses is a natural source of magnesium that supports hormonal balance. It also contains Vitamin B and Iron. Around 1 tablespoon of molasses provides you with 20% of the recommended daily intake of iron.
What sugars are vegan?
Here are some vegan sweeteners:
- Date syrup
- Brown rice syrup
Does Molasses have dairy?
Yes, Molasses are dairy-free. Molasses do not contain any milk so it’s safe for those who have a milk allergy.
Though molasses is a byproduct of sugarcane, it is not always vegan because of the bone char used during processing. Molasses is a great substitute for honey, however, it’s not as sweet as honey or maple syrup.
Molasses is mostly used in baked goods like bread, gingerbread, cookies, cakes, and muffins. Its taste goes great with cinnamon, raisins, and roasted nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pecans.
If you are thinking of using molasses in a recipe, there are plenty of vegan brands that you can find in supermarkets or local grocery stores. Just make sure to read the ingredients before buying vegan molasses.