Grape molasses has many uses. It can be used to sweeten cookies, cakes and breads. It can be made into a refreshing drink and can also be used to flavor puddings, BBQ sauce and gravies. We recommend you try “Sfouf b’Debes” for a truly delicious food experience.
Recipe: Yellow cake with grape molasses or “Sfouf b’Debes”
Ingredients: (makes 11 pieces)
150g of ferkha flour
150g of flour
200g of grape molasses
75g of vegetable oil
20g of powdered milk
5g of baking powder
200g of warm water
5g of instant yeast
5g of powdered aniseeds
Pinch of sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to medium heat.
Mix flours, powdered milk, instant yeast, baking powder and the powdered aniseeds.
Add the vegetable oil and rub well.
Add the grape molasses and the warm water.
Spread the tahini in a nonstick oven pan and pour the mixture.
Spread the sesame seeds.
Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes, and then put it in the oven for 25 minutes
Grape molasses is an ancient food in the Mediterranean region, known before honey or refined sugar. It is a natural sweetener with no additives or colorants. Grape molasses is a common food in the Lebanese mountains and is stocked in winter.
The Rachaya El-Wadi village is recognized for its grape molasses production. Situated on the western slopes of Mount Hermon, it has cold winters and moderate summers, which make good weather for growing grapes.
Rachaya crops include grapes, olives, cherries and apricots. It also has two olive oil presses and three grape molasses factories. The Food Heritage Foundation visited the grape molasses factory “Grapeful” to learn how this syrup is made.
Rachaya, the Kadamani’s hometown was the cradle of this ancient tradition. The Kadamani family established the first specialized press for producing grape molasses in the early twentieth century. The third generation of Kamadani established a modern grape press in the year 2000, using modern techniques and complying with international standards.
What type of grapes to use?
All types of grapes can be used (red or white); the level of sugar in the grapes must reach 80 on the refractometer; the more sugar that the grapes contain, the sweeter the molasses will be.
On average, each 5.5 kilos of grapes yields 1 kg of grape molasses.
The best white grapes are local varieties Obeidi and Merwah.
The best red grapes are Red Globe and the local Tfayfiheh.
Grape harvest and molasses production.
Season: from mid-September until mid-October.
Five steps to follow to produce grape molasses:
Grapes are detached from their stems and pressed out to obtain juice.
Juice is transferred to big stainless-steel pots, where a natural pulverized white calcium carbonate clay is added, in Arabic it is named “huwwara” (حوارة) and it is found in Rachaya’s mountains.
The juice should rest overnight before it is filtered.
It is transferred to big pots for boiling and is stirred to reach a thick syrupy consistency.
Old technique used to press the grapes manually: after the syrup is sorted out add the huwwara, let it rest overnight, the second day put the pulverized juice over a fire and let it simmer until it reaches a thick consistency.
Caloric content of grape molasses:
What are the health benefits of grape molasses?
Relieves the digestive system and relaxes the stomach and intestines.
Strengthens the body by preventing diseases.
Rich in calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium.
High in mineral content.
Prevents anemia and increases the amount of blood in the body.
Some food combinations may seem unconventional at first, but when you experience the mixture of tastes, you might change your mind. This is exactly what happened to me when I was offered by Bou Andre turnips and grape molasses!
After collecting olives for a couple of hours in his orchard, Bou Andre offered me and my friends a dessert that made him very proud: fresh turnips directly harvested from his garden and grape molasses that he made himself.
“Turnip and grape molasses??!”
Although, the idea seemed bizarre, the taste was exquisite and we all enjoyed it 🙂
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