Jaggery is not yet a household name in the West. But it is in many other parts of the world. In South Asia, Gur (Jaggery) has been in regular use for millennia. In fact, it was the only sweetener known to the local populations before the very white and bright, but apparently harmful, refined sugar was introduced to the subcontinent.
Jaggery is often mistaken for a crude form of sugar. That’s a very unfair comparison and perhaps, modern way of saying that whatever is not refined to a blank white is of lower quality! Jaggery deserves a much better status. From a health point of view, it certainly is a king of sweeteners, and deserves the pride of place in any kitchen in a world being overtaken by diabetes and obesity, largely due to excess consumption of highly processed forms of sugar.
The technique of making jaggery has not changed much since its beginnings in antiquity. Perhaps, machines have replaced the oxen that were used to crush the sugar canes, but very little else has changed. Basically, it follows three steps:
- As they mature to be ripe and sweet, sugarcane crop is cut and cleaned, and crushed and the juice collected for processing.
- The juice is then heated in large vats for hours till they solidify. Impurities like wood particles are removed during this stage.
- The thick liquid is cooled down to form soft slabs which are then molded into different shapes and sizes for the market.
Is Jaggery More Nutritious?
Jaggery is one of the most versatile food ingredients found anywhere. It’s used extensively in Indian sweets; added as a balancing element in spicy dishes; and to sweeten hot drinks like tea or coffee. It’s even offered to gods, and in some places, even as a flavouring agent in hookahs!
In Ayurveda, it’s known as gur shakkar (loosely translated it would mean jaggery sugar) and added to many formulations. Jaggery is many times richer in minerals like magnesium, zinc and iron, selenium and antioxidants than white sugar stripped clean of them. Substituting sugar with jaggery is a great way to reduce the harm you can do to your metabolic system. But don’t overdo it. It’s still high in calories and consuming it in excess can be counterproductive.
Health Benefits of Jaggery
According to an article on www.healthline.com, jaggery is known to have the following properties:
- Generates heat inside the body. ...
- Boosts immunity within the body. ...
- Prevents constipation and enhances the production of digestive enzymes.
- Helps in preventing joint pain. ...
- Detoxifies the body. ...
- Eases menstrual cramp pain. ...
- Rich in iron contents, prevents anemia.
Other sources have claimed that it improves digestion system and improves bowel movement, fighting anemia and help maintain a healthy acidity level.
The Bloom Organic Jaggery Advantage
Jaggery is as easily available and affordable as it is abundant. But only a tiny percentage of the production comes from pure organic sources. The cultivation of sugar cane is chemical intensive. Naturally, the final product is not laced with residual chemicals, but carry impurities produced during processing. A thump rule to gauge the purity of a product is the darker they are the less pure they are. A golden yellow colour is a marker that it has been cleaned up of wood particles and other material during the making process.
Bloom Jaggery is a pure organic product made from sugar canes that are grown in certified organic farms with no use of artificial chemicals and no agent is added to it for purposes to improve visual appearance.