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Molasses – known as black treacle in the United Kingdom – is a by-product of refining table sugar. The most common form is from refining sugarcane or sugar beet, but other forms of extraction exist, especially in the Middle East, where it is produced from carob, grapes, mulberries, dates, or pomegranates.

Like honey or treacle, molasses is generally sold in jars, tins, or plastic squeeze bottles. Sometimes, sulphur dioxide is added as a preservative, but leaves it with a slightly chemical flavour, less sweet. Most commercially sold molasses is not sulphured and the labelling will generally make this distinction clear.

In the same way olive oil can be graded by pressings, so molasses can be defined by boilings.

Nutritionally, while any molasses is better for you than sugar, the darker, the better. The vitamins, nutrients and minerals found in molasses, especially blackstrap, can help treat constipation, improve sexual health, relieve menstrual cramps, help reduce obesity, promote healthy hair growth, bones and teeth, are beneficial in the treatment of cancer, helping to stabilise blood sugar levels, and protect from cardiovascular disorders. Molasses is rich in copper which helps rid the body of free radicals. Which is why you will often find molasses sold in health food shops.