Jaggery is a traditional non-centrifugal cane sugar consumed in Asia and Africa.It is a concentrated product of date, cane juice, or palm sap (see palm sugar) without separation of the molasses and crystals, and can vary from golden brown to dark brown in color. It contains up to 50% sucrose, up to 20% invert sugars, and up to 20% moisture, with the remainder made up of other insoluble matter, such as wood ash, proteins, and bagasse fibers. Jaggery is mixed with other ingredients, such as peanuts, condensed milk, coconut, and white sugar, to produce several locally marketed and consumed delicacies.
Unrefined, it is known by various names, including panela, in other parts of the world.
Origins and production
Jaggery is made of the products of sugarcane and the date palm tree. The sugar made from the sap of the date palm is both more prized and less commonly available outside of the regions where it is made. The date palm is tapped for producing jaggery in West Bengal, South India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, syrup extracts from kithul (Caryota urens) trees are widely used for jaggery production. This is considered the best jaggery available on the local market and is more highly valued than that from other sources.
All types of the sugar come in blocks or pastes of solidified concentrated sugar syrup heated to 200 °C (392 °F). Traditionally, the syrup is made by boiling raw sugarcane juice or palm sap in large, shallow, round-bottom vessels.
Preparation of jaggery
Cutting of sugar cane in a field in India.
Historically, the sugar cane cultivators used crushers which were ox-driven. Nowadays all the crushers are power-driven. These crushers are located in fields near the sugar crop. The cut and cleaned sugar cane is put into the crusher. The extracted sugar cane juice is collected in a big vessel. A certain quantity of the juice is transferred to a smaller vessel for heating on a furnace.
The vessel is heated for about one hour. Dried wood pulp from the crushed sugar cane is used as fuel for the furnace. While boiling the juice, some lime is added to it so that all the wood particles are collected on top of the juice in a froth during boiling which is skimmed off. Finally the juice is thickened and reduced to nearly one- third of the original volume. This hot liquid is golden in color. It is stirred continuously and lifted with a spatula to observe whether it forms a thread or drips dropwise while falling. If it forms many threads, it has completely thickened. Now it is poured into a shallow flat bottomed concrete tank to cool and solidify. The tank is large enough to allow only a thin coat of this hot liquid to form at its bottom, so as to increase the surface area for quick evaporation and cooling. After cooling down the jaggery becomes a soft solid which is now pressed into the desired shape for selling at the market.
The quality of the jaggery is judged by its color; brown means it is higher in impurities and golden-yellow implies it is relatively pure. Due to this grading scale there are malpractices of adding color or harmful chemicals to simulate the golden color.
Jaggery, also called gurh, is used as an ingredient in sweet and savory dishes across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka as well as in Afghanistan and Iran. For example, a pinch of it is sometimes added to sambar, rasam, and other staples. Jaggery is added to lentil soups (dal) to add sweetness to balance the spicy, salty and sour components, particularly in Gujarati cuisine.
Maharashtra is the largest producer and consumer of jaggery most vegetable dishes, curries, and dals contain it. This is specially used during Makar Sankranti for making a dessert called tilgul. In Gujarat, known as gô during Makara Sankranti, a similar preparation called tal na ladu or tal sankli is made. In rural Maharashtra and Karnataka, water and a piece of jaggery is given when someone arrives home from working under a hot sun.
Molasses a byproduct of the production of jaggery, is used in rural Maharashtra and Karnataka as a sweetener. It contains many minerals not found in ordinary sugar and is considered beneficial to health in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It is an ingredient of many sweet delicacies, such as gur ka chawal ("jaggery rice"), a traditional Rajasthani or Punjabi dish.
Jaggery is high in vitamin and minerals such iron, which helpful to anaemia patient. It also contains many minerals like Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, Selenium, Manganese and Zinc which are very important for healthy body.
1. Prevents constipation: Jaggery activates the digestive enzymes in the body, stimulates bowel movements and thus helps prevent and relieve constipation.
2. Detoxes the liver: Jaggery helps cleanse the liver by flushing out harmful toxins from the body. So if you want to effectively detox your body, bite into a piece of jaggery.
3. Treats flu-like symptoms: Fight symptoms of a cold and cough with the help of gur. All you need to do is mix it with warm water and drink up, or even add it in your tea instead of sugar to reap the benefits.
4. Blood purifier: One of the most well-known benefits of jaggery is its ability to purify the blood. When consumed on a regular basis and in limited quantities, it cleanses the blood, leaving your body healthy.
5. Boosts immunity: Jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and minerals such as zinc and selenium, which in turn help prevent free-radical damage and also boost resistance against infections. Jaggery also helps increase the total count of haemoglobin in the blood.
6. Cleanses the body: Jaggery is one of the best natural cleansing agents for the body, hence it is advised to eat jaggery to remove unwanted particles from the body. It efficiently cleans the respiratory tract, lungs, intestines, stomach and food pipe. Eating jaggery is highly recommended for people working in heavily polluted areas such as factories or coal mines.
7. Eases menstrual pain: Jaggery contains many important nutrients, which important for healthy body, so it is very effective for menstrual problem. Gur is also useful to gives relief from cramp and stomach ache which are related to menstruation.
8. Cure Anaemia: Jaggery is great source of iron and folate. Iron and Folate maintain normal level of red blood cells and help to treat anaemia. Jaggery also gives an instant energy which cures the problem of fatigue and gives energy to your body, which one of the best Benefits of Jaggery for Pregnant Women.
9. Boosts intestinal health: Jaggery also boosts intestinal strength due to its high magnesium content. With every 10 gram of jaggery, you get 16 mg of magnesium, which is 4 percent of the daily requirement of this mineral.
10. Cools the stomach: Jaggery helps in maintaining normal body temperature which helps in keeping your stomach cool. Experts recommend drinking Gur Sharbat (jaggery soaked in ice cold water) during the summer months to cool off.
11. Maintain Blood Pressure: Jaggery is a rich source of potassium and sodium and both are very helpful to maintain a level of acid in your body. It also takes care of level of blood pressure in your body. It is one of Best Benefits of Jaggery to maintain your blood pressure level.
12. Cure Cough and Cold: It has ability to cure naturally cold and cough efficiently. Eating raw jaggery is very beneficial. You can make tea using gur or mix it with warm and drink to reduce problem of cold and cough. Jaggery is also very effective of migraines and headaches.
13. Relieves joint pain: "If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, eating jaggery can provide you with much-needed relief", says Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja, Sukhda Hospital. You can eat it with a piece of ginger to alleviate joint pain, or even drink a glass of milk with jaggery every day to help strengthen the bones, thus preventing joint and bone problems such as arthritis.
14. Improve Metabolism and Help in weight loss: It is high in potassium, and it help to maintain electrolytes and also building up of muscles and boost metabolism in body. These things play a vital role to reduce weight, make it able to help in weight lose.
"Jaggery is surprisingly effective as an aid for weight loss. This is because jaggery is a rich source of potassium, which is a mineral that helps in the balance of electrolytes as well as building muscles and boosting metabolism. Potassium also helps in the reduction of water retention, which helps in managing your weight", says Delhi-based Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat. These factors play an important role in effective weight loss, so if you're looking to lose some unwanted pounds, include this food in your diet.
15. Good source of energy: While sugar is a simple carbohydrate that gets absorbed in the bloodstream instantly and gives instant energy, jaggery is a complex carbohydrate that gives energy to the body gradually and for a longer time. This means that the levels of blood sugar do not get raised immediately. It also helps prevent fatigue and weakness of the body.
16.Good for sperm count : As per Ayurveda, consume it with powder of amla can beneficial to improve the quality of sperm count. It also helps in production of sperm in your body. It can reduce weakness in men and remove urinary problem in men. It is great Benefits of Jaggery for Sex life. Also it contain high amount of iron which great to improve hair growth.
17.Beauty Benefits of Jaggery or Gur:There are many Benefits of Jaggery for skin like nourish your skin, make skin healthy and glowing, reduce acne, blemish free skin, reduce sign of aging, and remove dark spot and wrinkles. Jaggery has natural properties which can your skin to stay healthy to all time
18. Maintain Temperature of Body : It has anti-allergic ingredient, which can help your body to maintain you temperature. It is great for the patient of Asthma, because Asthma patient must need a general temperature of body for all time. It is wonderful Benefits of Jaggery for the patient of Asthma.
19. Treat Urinary Problem : It last but not Least Health Benefits of Gur. Jaggery is made from sugarcane and sugarcane is works as natural diuretic, so it is useful to stimulate urination. It can also help in reduce inflammation of bladder. You can drink glass of milk with it to cure urinary problem and also to improve urine flow.