So I’m always on the lookout for Superfoods. I really like the idea of incorporating a few little things into my diet that will negate the drinking, erratic sleep patterns, and excessive consumption of caffeine, Sour Patch Kids, and fried foods. And lemme just tell you, Black Strap Molasses is about the awesomest thing since sliced bread. Wait, this is way awesomer, and older, than sliced bread. The Brits call it treacle; I call it a spoonful o’heaven:
Let’s get the
important vain stuff out of the way first: this stuff prevents/remedies premature grey hair, dude. This is no wive’s tale. Ok, it probably is. But it’s a true one. If you consume Black Strap Molasses regularly, you simply will not go grey prematurely. In fact, it may stave off the grey for a really, ridiculously long time. My dad’s friend is in her 50s. Not a single solitary grey hair. She credits the molasses. I’m no “woman of science,” so I’ll take this one person’s account as solid gold proof.
What else? Well it’s completely natural, the bi-product of boiling sugar a whole lot, and of course you don’t run into any of the potential health risks that artificial sweeteners present. It’s been around forever, and people have long sung its praises.
On its own, it’s got a very distinct, mineral-y taste, probably because it’s rich in all kinds of awesome stuff. According to Wisegeek:
Black Strap Molasses is probably the most nutritious sweetener out there. Two teaspoons (13.67 g) contain over 10% of the US Recommended Daily Allowance of manganese, copper, iron, calcium, and potassium. Lower amounts of magnesium, vitamin B6, and andeselenium are also present. [Caveat:] It’s important to note that calcium inhibits iron absorption, so using it as an iron source is not recommended.(source)
So how do you eat this tar-like stuff? I found the perfect way. Put a spoonful of it in your coffee or tea every day. I used to drink my coffee black, but this adds a really nice, almost smoky sweetness to the Joe. If you like to bake, it’s also great in gingerbreads, cookies, and can be substituted in all kinds of recipes. Apparently it’s great on baked beans and oatmeal too.
You can read more about the health benefits all over the internet. Interestingly enough, this guy goes on a little tirade against the stuff, his main argument being that it is not “natural” because it has to be extracted from sugar, and because it is not appealing to the senses. I’m not convinced, though, and I think it’s really yummy when diluted. Besides, plenty of things that are really good for us are initially unappealing to the senses! *Update: he’s also completely wrong about the fact that this stuff has no history. It has a long history, as evidenced by the word “treacle,” which comes from Middle English. From Wiki: Historically, the Middle English term triacle was used by herbalists and apothecaries to describe a medicine (also called theriac or theriaca) — composed of many ingredients — that was used as an antidote treatment for poisons, snakebites or various ailments. Etymology don’t lie, folks!
And more from Wiki, if you’re like me and find etymology to be way more exciting even than the health benefits of a super-sweetener: Triacle comes from the Old French triacle, in turn from Vulgar Latin *triacula (the asterisk indicates an unattested reconstructed form), which comes from Latin theriaca, the romanization of the Greekθηριακή (thēriakē), the feminine of θηριακός (thēriakos), “concerning venomous beasts”, which comes from θηρίον (thērion), “wild animal” or “beast.”
All aboard the Black Strap Bandwagon. Woot!