With a rich, spicy and smoky flavor, molasses is a thick, dark syrup, used in baking and cooking. Most US households have a jar squirreled away in the back of the cupboard, dusted off for the annual family gingerbread house making day, or when someone gets a hankering for Boston baked beans.
Molasses is a by-product of the sugar refining process. As far as sugar products go, molasses is one of the most nutrient-dense options out there, rich in iron, calcium, potassium, antioxidants and more.
But is molasses vegan? Like some brands of sugar, some molasses is not vegan (for a pretty grim reason!). Stick around to find out what it is, more about what you can do with this amazing syrup, and where to find the best vegan molasses around… Spoiler alert! It’s right here!
What Is Molasses?
Molasses is a thick, dark syrup that can be used as a sweetener. It has a rich, smoky, warm and sweet flavor. It is a byproduct of the sugar-making process.
First, the sugar cane is crushed to extract the juice. This juice is then boiled down to form sugar crystals. Molasses is the name for the thick, brown syrup leftover once the crystals have been removed from the juice.
Manufacturers repeat this process several times, and each time, a different type of molasses is produced. The first boiling produces light molasses, the second produces dark molasses, and the third and final boiling produces the darkest and most concentrated form: blackstrap molasses.
Is Molasses Vegan?
Molasses is not considered vegan when the sugarcane is processed using bone char (cow bones that have been reduced to carbon) for bleaching and filtration purposes. Yeuuugh! Therefore, many vegans choose to stay away from sugar that has been processed using bone char and any related sugar products such as molasses.
Thankfully, the practice of using bone char in sugar processing is becoming more and more uncommon. Plus, organic molasses is always 100% cruelty-free because organic certified sugar cannot be bleached using bone char or other chemicals.
And of course, you can rest assured that all the molasses you’ll find right here at PlantX is always 100% vegan!
Is Vegan Molasses Good For You?
Unlike refined sugar, vegan molasses (particularly blackstrap molasses) is naturally rich in all kinds of micronutrients. That’s not to say it’s not high in sugar and calories as well, but as a sweetener, it packs an impressive nutritional punch!
Vegan molasses is a great source of essential minerals including iron, selenium, copper, calcium, potassium, phosphorus & magnesium, as well as amino acids, vitamin B6 and antioxidants. Because of this, some people even consider it to be a superfood.
Blackstrap molasses is sometimes recommended as a folk remedy to treat anemia (and it’s true that 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses delivers 20% of your iron RDA!), constipation and other digestive issues, to support bone and heart health, promote hair growth, maintain stable blood sugar levels and more.
While there is little scientific evidence to support the idea that vegan molasses can be used to ‘cure’ anything, we can all agree that it makes a healthier alternative to refined sugar.
How Do You Use Vegan Molasses?
So, we’ve found out exactly what it is and what nutrients it can offer, but what exactly can you do with vegan molasses? Molasses adds a rich, smoky depth and warm sweetness to recipes, both sweet and savory.
On the sweet side, molasses makes a wonderful addition to warmly spiced bakes such as moist gingerbread loaves, crisp and chewy ginger and molasses cookies, rich fruit cakes and vegan toffee. It’s also delicious in dark, dense breads such as rye bread, pumpernickel and wholemeal soda bread.
On the savory side, vegan molasses is an essential ingredient in old-fashioned style homemade baked beans, helping to achieve that sweet-tangy flavor and melt-in-the-mouth tenderness. You can also whip up your own BBQ sauces and sticky marinades with a dollop of molasses, perfect for achieving that rich smokiness and syrupy texture.
You can also mix a teaspoon of vegan molasses with boiling water or steamed plant milk to make a rich hot drink, to drink in place of hot cocoa or Ovaltine.
A note about blackstrap molasses: While blackstrap molasses is purported to contain the most nutrients, it also has a very distinctive and strong flavor. It’s rich, subtly sweet and smoky like the other types, but it also has a robust edge of bitterness. When baking, check which type of molasses your recipe calls for and don’t make any rash substitutions of light molasses for blackstrap, or you may end up with something quite different!
So… What Do They Do With The Rest Of The Mole?!
So, let’s wrap things up and return to our question ‘is molasses vegan?’. What have we learnt? No, molasses is not made from moles(!), but that doesn’t mean it’s always guaranteed to be vegan. Be sure to choose vegan molasses that doesn’t come from sugarcane that’s been processed with bone char. How can you tell? Choose organic molasses, or better still, PlantX organic molasses!
Molasses is a great alternative to refined sugar. It contains a whole bunch of essential nutrients, and it’s lower on the glycaemic index so won’t give you such a big spike in your blood sugar levels! Use vegan molasses in bakes, cakes, cookies, beans, marinades and more!