Molasses

From Academic Kids

Molasses or treacle is a thick, syrupy derivative of the juice of the sugarcane plant or the processing of sugar beet. The quality of molasses depends on the maturity of the sugar cane or beet, the amount of sugar extracted, and the method of extraction.

Contents

1 Notes
2 See also

Cane Molasses

There are three major types of molasses: unsulphured, sulphured and blackstrap. There are also three major grades of molasses: first molasses, second molasses, and blackstrap molasses.

  • Unsulphured molasses is the finest quality. It is made from the juice of sun-ripened cane and the juice is clarified and concentrated.
  • Sulphured molasses is made from green (unripe) sugar cane and is treated with sulphur fumes during the sugar extraction process.
  • Each season, the sugar cane plant is harvested and stripped of its leaves. Its juice is then extracted from the canes (usually by crushing or mashing), boiled until it has reached the appropriate consistency, and processed to extract the sugar. The results of this first boiling and processing is first molasses, which has the highest sugar content because comparatively little sugar has been extracted from the juice.
  • Second molasses is created from a second boiling and sugar extraction, and has a slight bitter tinge to its taste. Further rounds of processing and boiling yield the dark blackstrap molasses, which is the most nutritionally valuable, and thus often sold as a health supplement, as well as being used in the manufacture of cattle feed, and for other industrial uses.

Sugar Beet Molasses

Molasses from the sugar beet is different from cane molasses. Only the syrup left from the final crystallisation stage is called molasses; intermediate syrups are referred to as high green and low green. It is about 50% sugar by dry weight, predominantly sucrose but also containing significant amounts of glucose and fructose. The non-sugar content includes many salts such as calcium, potassium, oxalate and chloride. As such, it is unpalatable and is mainly used as an additive to animal feed or as a fermentation feedstock. It is possible to extract additional sugar from beet molasses through a process known as molasses desugarisation. This technique exploits industrial scale chromatography to separate sucrose from non sugar components. The technique is only economically viable in areas where the price of sugar is supported above the world market eg in areas with trade barriers, and is prevalent in the US and is also seen within the European Community.

The non-sucrose elements in the beet sugar production process are called molassegenic because they take equal amounts of sucrose with them to the molasses stage where it cannot normally be economically extracted.

Notes

  • Molasses is a chelating agent. An object coated with iron rust placed for two weeks in a mixture of one part molasses to nine parts water will lose its rust due to the chelating action of the molasses.
  • The British pudding Treacle Tart does not use any treacle but golden syrup.

See also

fr:mlasse it:Melassa nl:Melasse ru:Меласса

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