There’s that old joke where a family of garden moles (Mum, Dad and baby mole) get lost in the maze of tunnels they’ve dug. Mum and dad mole stare at their map arguing about where they should go. Not exactly famous for their great eyesight, the mole’s discussion starts to get quite heated when, baby mole who is standing behind them pipes up, “I don’t know about you guys, but from here all I can see is a pair of mole-asses! Dad-jokes aside, is the difference between all the molasses varieties on the grocery shelf just as confusing and mysterious? Which is better for your health, pomegranate molasses or sugar-cane molasses? What exactly is blackstrap molasses and what is it good for? What is molasses made for exactly? Today we take a deeper dive into the manufacturing process of traditional molasses varieties and our own, unique pomegranate molasses to uncover the facts behind each product to offer you some insight for healthy use.
POMEGRANATE MOLASSES VS SUGAR MOLASSES 101
What is molasses, really? Traditionally, molasses is the gooey, thick syrup that some folks use instead of sugar as a sweetener in baking and at mealtime. Molasses itself is a byproduct of the manufacture of refined sugar, and it starts with crushing sugar cane or sugar beets to extract their juices. Boiling the juices makes sugar crystals form which are then removed, leaving a thick, brownish syrup behind–Molasses. If you were to boil this again a darker, richer and, if you can believe it, an even goopier form of molasses would form. Then, if you were to dream the impossible dream, and boil it a third time you would get what we all know and love as blackstrap molasses, which isn’t really sweet at all, but kind of bitter and a little… grumpy tasting.
Pomegranate molasses starts its life in a similar fashion, where our pomegranates are crushed for a thorough juicing. Much like the manufacture of cane molasses the creation of pomegranate molasses requires boiling to reduce the liquid juices to a syrupy texture by boiling off the water content. The principal difference here is that Molassity Pomegranate Molasses does not ever bring the precious Wonderful pomegranate juices to a boil, instead, we use a slow-food process where we slowly simmer our pomegranate juices, never bringing the temperature even close to boiling.
The elevated temperatures in boiling–although they produce molasses faster–may also damage or denature some of the essential elements and healthful compounds found in pomegranate juices. With our focus on the healthy properties of the raw pomegranate, Molassity uses a slow, simmering process, and we bubble the juice over lower heat for longer, thereby removing excess water with no risk of damage to the essential health-giving compounds of the pomegranate.
Molassity’s Slow Food, artisanal approach takes longer but for good reason: To ensure we do not disturb or destroy any of the remarkable and healthful antioxidants, polyphenols, and preservatives of this super fruit. This is an extra step that we feel is well worth the wait, and we’re pretty sure you will too the first time a pure, slow-simmered drop of Molassity explodes on your tastebuds making them do the pomegranate molasses mouth-macarena.
By contrast, cane molasses is a byproduct of another goal, not an end-product in itself. Cane molasses is really a left-over from the process of making refined sugar. On the other hand, pomegranate molasses is the whole point of cooking pomegranate juice. There are no byproducts and nothing is added or extracted. Molassity’s Pomegranate Molasses really does only have one job, it helps to keep the pomegranate in your kitchen for 12 months a year.
YOUR HEALTH: WONDERFUL POMEGRANATES VS CANES & BEETS
With all the boiling, crushing, stewing, chewing, and simmering going on to make any kind of molasses, is all the effort worth it? Well, yes. Molasses contains many essential vitamins and compounds which are good for you, and it also keeps pretty well on a shelf.
With blackstrap molasses, for example, most of the sugar has already been removed, leaving a slightly bitter flavor along with a bunch of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese, which is why blackstrap molasses has been sold as a dietary supplement since like, forever.
Pomegranate molasses is a little different from cane molasses. As we’ve already mentioned, it’s not a byproduct of another process, it really is its own thing. Pomegranate molasses is an ingenious way of getting all the yummy goodness and strong health benefits of pomegranates into your diet once they are out of season (for eight long months of the year). Pomegranate molasses is also great tasting as a product, in and of itself. Cane molasses is somewhat less so, with blackstrap molasses often ending up in livestock feed products because no cow ever asked to see the maître d’ about the bitter aftertaste of their lunch!
Pomegranate molasses is also not bitter like cane molasses–pomegranate molasses is tart and sweet. As the various molasses mixtures are reduced by evaporating off the water content of the juices cane molasses starts to become bitter (all the sugar is removed to make refined sugar) but pomegranate molasses retains its natural sugars, keeping the resulting molasses sweet. The tartness of pomegranate molasses comes from the sharp acidity of the molasses–the simmering process removes excess water leaving a strong tart/acid flavor behind. The sweetness of pomegranates is the stuff of legend, with the Wonderful pomegranate giving arguably the best balance between the tart/acid and the sweet flavors so characteristic of this renowned superfruit.
THE ADVANTAGES OF PURPOSE-MADE MOLASSES: NOTHING ADDED, NOTHING TAKEN AWAY
Some producers add sugar and lemon juice to their pomegranate juice before boiling it down into molasses, this is not the Molassity way. At Molassity our focus is on keeping all of the essential health benefits of the pomegranate locked into our molasses, without adding anything which would compromise the flavor or the powerful antioxidant benefits to your health. So, for Molassity at least, when we talk about “molasses” we’re really talking about a single ingredient to ensure simplicity and purity–nothing is added, and nothing is taken away.
WIth Molassity’s premium Pomegranate Molasses the benefits of a single ingredient product, carefully and artisanally refined into a long-lasting, great-tasting, gooey molasses are even better. For one, no preservatives are required as the natural preservatives found in the pomegranate become concentrated within the molasses itself, helping to ensure a great shelf life (1-2 years). Secondly, the antioxidant power of the fruit is greatly intensified as we cram up to 16 ripe pomegranates into one slim bottle of Molassity Pomegranate Molasses. This means that a single serving of Molassity–one tablespoonful–contains all the natural, distilled goodness of one fresh pomegranate.
When used as a natural sweetener, Pomegranate molasses easily trumps other fruits, beets, and canes for health benefits and for taste. Coupled with the fact that no sugar is added to Molassity–we fiercely believe that sugar should never be a part of pomegranate molasses–our molasses becomes one of the easiest and healthiest, single ingredient choices you can possibly add to your diet. Purpose-made, singularly derived, and wonderfully flavorful, Molassity is created to the highest culinary standards with no added additives to ensure a true and balanced pomegranate flavor coupled with all the robust health advantages you would expect from a super fruit.