Molasses is a by-product of the refining of sugar cane into sugar. Light or thick syrup is a good way to sweeten or flavor certain dishes. It is used in a variety of recipes such as beans, shredded pork and sweets such as cookies. Molasses is usually made from sugar cane or sugar beet, although it can also be made from products such as sorghum and pomegranate.
For sugar beet molasses
- 3, 5 kg or more of chopped sugar beet;
- 2 cups of water.
For sugar cane molasses or sorghum
Sugarcane or sorghum stalks;
For pomegranate molasses
- 6 to 7 large pomegranates or 4 cups of pomegranate juice;
- 1/2 cup (100g) of sugar;
- 1/4 cup (50ml) lemon juice or 1 medium lemon.
Method 1 of 3: Using sugar beet
Step 1. Prepare the beets
You should use at least 3.5 kg of sugar beet if you want to produce at least 1 cup of molasses. Take a sharp knife and cut off the top of the beets. You can discard the leaves or save them for later eating with vegetables. Then wash the beets under warm running water. Use a vegetable cleaner or a clean plastic mop to remove any dirt.
Store the leaves in a closed container in the refrigerator if you plan to eat them later
Step 2. Cut the clean beets into thin slices
Any sharp or serrated knife will do, but you can also use a food processor.
Cut on a cutting board so as not to damage the counter or kitchen table
Step 3. Cook the beets
Place the slices in a pan and cover them with water. Cook them over medium heat until tender. Stick with a fork to see if they're soft enough. Mix them every five minutes so they don't stick in the pan.
Use a large or medium pot
Step 4. Separate the water from the beets
When they are soft, put them in a colander. You should place a large bowl under the colander to catch the water from the beets. You can use them however you like immediately after separating them from the water, like in a recipe, or keep them in the fridge for later use.
If you are going to keep them in the fridge, put the beets in a closed container and try to use them as soon as possible
Step 5. Boil the water
Put the beet water in a medium saucepan and boil until it becomes a thick syrup. At this point, turn off the heat and let it cool.
- Allow to cool for at least half an hour.
- Use a spoon to check the consistency of the syrup.
Step 6. Store the molasses
When it has cooled down, place it in a closed container and store it in a place that maintains room temperature. Molasses should last up to 18 months. When the container is opened, you should store it in the refrigerator, but the molasses will usually get thicker and harder. Over time, the surface will start to crystallize and become beet sugar, and you will need to remove this layer.
- You can crush the beet sugar and store it in another closed container to use it.
- Write the date the molasses was prepared on the container in which you store it. The molasses will start to spoil when it molds and starts to ferment.
Method 2 of 3: Preparing with sugar cane or sorghum
Step 1. Choose sorghum or sugar cane
Sugarcane is the most common source of molasses, but sorghum can also be used. Sorghum is generally used as an alternative to sugarcane in regions that do not have a tropical climate, as it grows in temperate climates and is usually more accessible.
- Sorghum canes are usually harvested in late September or early October, before winter begins in temperate climates. You can tell when they are ready for harvest when the seed clump on top of the canes is yellow or brown.
- Sugarcane is ready to be harvested when the leaves are dry and turn yellow or brown. The central structure of the plant must be weakened.
Step 2. Buy or prepare the cane
If you don't buy sorghum or sugar cane, it will be necessary to prepare them at harvest. First, remove all leaves with a sharp knife or by hand. Then remove the seeds with a knife. Cut the stem as close to the ground as possible. Leave the stems upright against a shelf for a week and then grind them in a mill. Leave a container under the mill to collect the liquid.
- The best option is to buy cane if you don't have access to a harvest or mill.
- You will probably have to cut the stems about 4 to 6 inches off the ground to avoid soil contamination.
- Waste, stems and pulp can be composted or stored for use in other processes.
Step 3. Strain the juice
Take the liquid you have collected into a container and strain it using a calico cloth to remove large particles. When it has been strained, place the juice in a large pot.
The size of the pot will depend on how much juice you have. Generally, the pan should be 15 cm deep
Step 4. Place the pan on a heat source, such as a stove, and bring to a boil
When bubbling, turn off the heat and set it to a constant temperature that is high enough to maintain a regular boil. Simmer for six hours and remove the green substance that forms on the surface of the molasses.
- Stir frequently for six hours so the sugar doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the green substance with a large spoon.
Step 5. Turn off the fire
You can do this when the molasses has changed from green to yellow, or when it is thick and small filaments appear when you mix. Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stove. At this point, you can let it cool or boil again two or three more times to get a thicker, darker molasses.
- Light molasses are produced at the first boil. They are thinner and sweeter than molasses that has been boiled two or three more times.
- Dark molasses is a product of the second boil. They are darker, thicker, less sweet and have a stronger flavor than light molasses.
- Black molasses is a product of the third and final boil. They are the thickest, the darkest and the least sweet.
Step 6. Bottle the molasses
When you are satisfied with the color and consistency, place the molasses in a container while it is hot, as it is easier to handle it warm. Also remember to use a closed container. If using glass, heat it before transferring the hot molasses as the glass may break. Store in an area at room temperature (or cooler) for up to 18 months.
The top layer will crystallize and turn to sugar after a while. You can remove this layer, crush it and store it in another container
Method 3 of 3: Making Pomegranate Molasses
Step 1. Choose to use pomegranate or fruit juice
Molasses can be made starting with the fruit or the juice, but it's easier to start with the juice because you'll need to separate the fruit and juice anyway. No matter which one you choose, the result will be the same.
Any type of pomegranate juice will do. Just make sure it's made from natural pomegranate instead of artificial flavor
Step 2. Open the pomegranate
You will need six to seven pomegranates. If you're starting with the fruit itself, you'll need to open it to get the juice out. First, find the crown. Then take a knife to garnish and make a circular incision in the crown. Make small cuts in the fruit and split into several sections. Remove the seeds leaving them loose. When you have opened the fruit, remove the seeds in a medium bowl containing water. Repeat this step for each of the six or seven pomegranates.
Place a newspaper or pieces of paper towels under the pomegranate while you are opening it
Step 3. Make pomegranate juice
You don't need to do this step if you've started with fruit juice. By now, most of the seeds should be floating in the water in the bowl. Remove the membrane from the bowl and drain the water. Then place the seed capsules in a blender and blend on high speed until it looks like a smoothie. After that, strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve and place it in a container.
You will have enough for 4 cups of juice
Step 4. Create the mixture by adding lemon and sugar to the juice
You will need ½ cup (100 g) of sugar and ¼ cup (50 ml) of lemon juice, which is the equivalent of a medium lemon. Shake well.
Adding the sugar and lemon leaves the molasses fresh for longer as well as giving it a sweet and sour taste
Step 5. Pour the mixture into a pan
Place the pan over medium/high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/low temperature when juice starts to bubble. The mixture should be bubbling slightly at this point. Simmer for an hour.
Stir occasionally during the boil to prevent the sugar from sticking to the bottom of the pan
Step 6. Check the mixture after an hour
Most of the liquids will have burned out by now. It is okay if the mixture is still a little runny as it will thicken when it cools. Remove pan from heat and let cool.
Allow the mixture to cool for at least 30 minutes. Take a look once in a while to see if it's cooled off
Step 7. Store the molasses
Put it in a jar, cap tightly, refrigerate it. The molasses will last for up to six months.