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Also known as
gur, gud, gol.
Jaggery is a traditional unrefined non-centrifugal sugar consumed in Asia. It is a concentrated product of cane juice, wherein the molasses and crystals are not separated. It can vary in colour from golden brown to dark brown in colour. It contains up to 50% sucrose, up to 20% invert sugars, moisture content of up to 20%, and the remainder is made up of other insoluble matter such as ash, proteins and bagasse fibres.
Jaggery is also sometimes made from the sap of the date palm. This is costlier and also available only locally in districts where it is made. The sago palm and coconut palm are also now tapped for producing jaggery in southern India and Sri Lanka.
Place the block of jaggery on a chopping board and chop it finely or roughly as per recipe requirements.
Grate a block of jaggery using a grater into fine or thick shavings as per the recipe requirement.
How to select
• At present, the jaggery being produced in India has no set standards for manufacturing. Chemicals like hydrosulfate, synthetic colours and additives may get added.
• It would be best to buy jaggery from reputed dealers.
• The jaggery should appear clean, attractive and possess a unique sweet smell.
• If it is too dry and fine, with a polished golden colour, it is likely that is has been treated with a lot of chemicals. So, prefer the stickier, darker coloured jaggery.
• In Maharashtra, most vegetables curries and dals contain jaggery.
• Jaggery is used a lot during Makara Sankaranti (Pongal) time all over the country. In Maharashtra it is used to make sweets like tilgul, while in Tamilnadu it is used to make sweet pongal (chakkarai pongal), payasam (kheer), etc. In some form or the other, it is included in festive cooking.
• In rural Maharashtra, water and a piece of jaggery are given when someone arrives home after working in the hot sun.
• Kakvi, a by-product of the production of jaggery, is also used in rural Maharashtra as a sweetener.
• Jaggery is regularly consumed as a sweetener and is a part of many sweet delicacies such as gur ka chawal (rice with jaggery), which is a traditional Rajasthani dish.
• A pinch of jaggery is sometimes added to spicy preparations like sambhar, rasam and other gravies, to enhance the other flavours.
• Jaggery is also added to lentil soups to add sweetness to balance the spicy, salty and sour components, particularly in Gujarati cuisine.
• Many sweet dishes are made by mixing jaggery with milk and coconut or with nuts like cashew.
How to store
• Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
• Jaggery is a rich source of iron.
• It also contains many minerals salts not found in ordinary sugar.
• Indian Ayurvedic medicine considers jaggery to be a wholesome sugar beneficial to health.
• Ayurveda also considers jaggery to be beneficial in treating throat and lung infections.
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