What Is Jaggery?
Jaggery is an unrefined sugar product made in Asia and Africa. Jaggery is a sweetener that’s becoming popular as a “healthy” replacement for sugar. What’s more, this sweetener has been given a serious health halo. It’s often referred to as a “superfood sweetener.”
About 70% of the world’s jaggery production takes place in India, where it is commonly called “gur.” It’s most often made with sugar cane. However, jaggery made from date palm is also common in several countries.
The color can range from light golden to dark brown. This is important, since the color and texture are used to grade the jaggery. Interestingly, Indians value lighter shades more than darker ones. This lighter, “good quality” jaggery generally contains more than 70% sucrose. It also contains less than 10% isolated glucose and fructose, with 5% as minerals. It is most often sold as a solid block of sugar, but it’s also produced in liquid and granulated forms.
How is It Made?
Jaggery is made using traditional methods of pressing and distilling palm or cane juice. This is a 3-step process:
- Extraction: The canes or palms are pressed to extract the sweet juice or sap.
- Clarification: The juice is allowed to stand in large containers so that any sediment settles to the bottom. It is then strained to produce a clear liquid.
- Concentration: The juice is placed in a very large, flat-bottomed pan and boiled.
Is It More Nutritious Than Sugar?
Jaggery contains more nutrients than refined sugar because of its molasses content. Molasses is a nutritious by-product of the sugar making process, which is usually removed when making refined sugar. Including the molasses adds a small amount of micronutrients to the final product. The exact nutrition profile of this sweetener can vary, depending on the type of plant used to make it (cane or palm).
According to one source, 100 grams (half a cup) of jaggery may contain:
Sucrose: 65–85 grams.
Fructose and glucose: 10–15 grams.
Protein: 0.4 grams.
Fat: 0.1 grams.
Iron: 11 mg, or 61% of the RDI.
Magnesium: 70-90 mg, or about 20% of the RDI.
Potassium: 1050 mg, or 30% of the RDI.
Manganese: 0.2–0.5 mg, or 10–20% of the RDI.
However, keep in mind that this is a 100-gram (3.5-oz) serving, which is much higher than you would generally eat at once. You’d probably consume closer to a tablespoon (20 grams) or teaspoon (7 grams).
Health Benefits Of Jaggery
There are various benefits of Jaggery. The list would go too long to mention all. Hence, a few important one’s have been mentioned below:
- Sweetening Agent: The first benefit of jaggery is that it is a colorful, taste explosion when consumed, and secondly, it is a sweetener. You can experience the difference yourself. Taste plain sugar and jaggery one after another, and it will be very clear to you. That was only the sugar cane jaggery, a single flavor. Now you should taste the Date Palm Jaggery, Palmyra Jaggery, or one of the other flavors available.
- Energy Food: We know that carbohydrates, consumed in our food, give us energy upon oxidation. The simpler the carbohydrate, the sooner the energy released. Therefore, sugar and glucose is the proper carbohydrate, because they are very simple and are absorbed in the blood stream almost instantaneously to fill us with a sudden burst of energy.
- Digestive Agent: Jaggery activates the digestive enzymes and itself changes to acetic acid in the stomach, thereby speeding up digestion and making the process go very smooth, reducing strain on the intestines and digestive tract.
- Cleansing Agent: You may not normally connect sweeteners and sugars with “cleansing the body”, but that is actually one of the well-proven benefits of jaggery. Jaggery effectively cleans the respiratory tracts, lungs, food pipe, stomach and intestines.
- Source of Minerals: Unlike sugar, jaggery is rich in minerals, mainly iron with traces of other mineral salts. While most of the iron in jaggery comes through its processing in iron vessels, the other minerals come directly from the sugar cane juice, since the juice does not undergo refinement or bleaching of any kind. Therefore, jaggery is a very good source of minerals for the body.
What Can Jaggery Be Used For?
Like sugar, jaggery is versatile. It can be grated or broken up, and then used as a replacement for refined sugar in any food or drink. In India, it’s often mixed with foods like coconuts, peanuts and condensed milk to make traditional desserts and candies. These include jaggery cake and chakkara pongal, a dessert made from rice and milk.
In the Western world, this sweetener is often used as a sugar substitute in baking. It can also be used to sweeten drinks like tea and coffee.
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Organic Tattva Organic Jaggery Powder: It is a good and healthy option over sugar to be added in fresh fruit juices, lemonades, cookies, chocolates, cakes, fruit bars and many more. It is also a popular sweetener in South America and Mexico. Daily intake provides you with mineral nutrients like Iron, Calcium and Phosphorous and vitamins apart from calories.
Deccan Organic Jaggery cube: Helps cure lung & throat infections pure medicinal sugar with high nutritional value that helps maintain blood pressure. The oldest sugar form that can revive many native food preparations. It is also healthy and can help maintain blood pressure.
Deccan Organic Jaggery cube (Cardamom flavour) : Jaggery is a sweetener that’s becoming popular as a “healthy” replacement for sugar. It is an unrefined sugar product made in Asia and Africa. One reason jaggery is gaining popularity is the belief that it is more nutritious than refined white sugar. It is also claimed to have various health benefits.
Naturally Yours Liquid Jaggery: Liquid Jaggery is an intermediate product obtained from concentrating sugarcane juice after clarification for making Jaggery. It is semi-liquid and is also known as sugarcane juice concentrate. In Marathi it is popular with the name of Kaakavi, in Kannada with Kakavi and in Gujarati with Golnupa.