So then, having given you the long answer about how molasses is made, I can now give you the short answer on what “sulphured” molasses is. If you remember last week’s posts on “sulphured” fruit, you’ll recall that sulfur dioxide gas is sometimes employed in the drying and/or candying process to shut down (actually bond with) naturally occurring enzymes to prevent them from bonding with phenols and forming pigments. The same logic is at work in the sugar making process. If the end product is to be refined table sugar, sulfur dioxide is sometimes bubbled through the cane syrup before crystallization to help it stay white. The sulfur dioxide also serves to re-balance the pH of the syrup after the initial purification (which as I mentioned involves lime, a strong alkaline). It furthermore acts as a sanitizer, since sulfur dioxide is lethal to molds and bacteria. Of course just as with candied fruit, “sulphuring” can leave a chemical taste behind, which is why it’s nearly impossible to find “sulphured” molasses in grocery stores today, even if you wanted to.