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What is Jaggery – Indian Food recipes & Health

Jaggery is a completely unrefined sugar made from sugar cane juice or palm sap that is reduced (cooked down) and set into blocks. It has a wonderful, rich flavour, somewhere between molasses and caramel depending on the quality and season.

The scientific or technical definition of jaggery is an amorphous form of unrefined and non-distilled sugar prepared from the sap or the juice of plants that contains a considerable amount of sucrose or sugar. This includes things like sugar cane and certain palms like date palm and Palmyra. Sometimes, it is also called country sugar, since it is prepared in rural households of certain countries. It is also called molasses due to its semi-solid state. Chemically, it is defined as C12H22O12.

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.

It is also used to make traditional alcoholic drinks, such as palm wine.

Jaggery is not widely known in western countries, since it is rarely prepared there. It is predominantly made in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Besides tasting very good, it has many health benefits. Now, let’s explore a bit more about this colorful and tasty food!

Although the term “jaggery” is generally used for the molasses obtained from the juice of sugar cane, it also refers to the jaggery made from the sap of palms, like Date palm, Palmyra, Toddy palm and a few other plants.

It is an integral part of almost all harvest festivals celebrated in India. In Southern India, rice is cooked in sugar cane jaggery to make Pongal, a dish offered to the gods after the harvest. Similarly, in western and northern India, sweet dishes are made from sugar cane jaggery and newly harvested crops like sesame, ground nuts, rice, and wheat flour to celebrate the harvest.

Jaggery is popularly know as “Patali Goor” or “Khejoor Goor” in Bangladesh.

Gram by gram, jaggery is more nutritious than sugar. However, there is a big “but” when it comes to describing it as nutritious.

It’s essentially still sugar, and any extra nutrients you get come with a lot of calories.

You would also need to eat a lot of jaggery to get a meaningful amount of these nutrients, which you can get in much greater amounts from other sources.

So, while it may be slightly “healthier” to replace refined sugar with a sweetener that has more vitamins and minerals, it’s not really advisable to add jaggery to your diet.

Health benefits of Jaggery.

  1. Digestive Disorder and Appetite – Jaggery which is high in digestive stimulant property help’s in good digestion and increases your appetite. Constipation is cleared and you start to have clear bowl movement when you start consuming jaggery regularly.
  1. Prevents Anemia – Jaggery has rich content of iron which is absorbed by our body on consumption. The iron helps our body to maintain the blood count over all and prevents from being anemic. Pregnant women are advised to have jaggery as they need to have good blood flow throughout their pregnancy.
  1. Cough and Cold – Jaggery can be used for curing a cold. Jaggery has enough antioxidants that help’s the immune system of the body to improve. Mix a small amount of jaggery to peppercorns and eat it and you will find your cold level coming down. For cough if you eat a piece of jaggery before bed it will help in clearing the cough.
  1. Jaggery For Weight Loss – Jaggery helps in absorbing the excess water content in the body as it contains minerals. It also helps in body metabolism and gives good strength to build the body.
  1. Serves As A Blood Purifier – Jaggery also helps in purifying the blood by removing the unwanted toxins. If we consume jaggery on a daily basis it purifies the blood and the immunity is ultimately improved.
  1. Solves Menstrual Problem – Women face pain during their periods due to cramps and it is advised to consume Jaggery during periods,it helps the body to get relived from the pain. The nutritious content in Jaggery helps to overcome the pain makes you feel better from the cramps.
  1. Prevents Respiratory problems – Many have been advised to take jaggery and sesame seeds if they have any kind of respiratory problem. Asthma can be cured by this way and it gradually relieves you from the problems.
  1. Boosts energy – The energy levels go up as you take a small piece of jaggery. The carbohydrate present in the jaggery gives you instant energy and makes you feel active.
  1. Helps to Strengthen Bones – If you drink a glass of milk with jaggery it shall help in bone strengthening. The calcium content in milk and the iron in Jaggery help in joints.
  1. Jaggery for clear skin and nourished Hair – Jaggery has astringent properties in it and can be used with face packs. By using it your pimples are cleared and you can enjoy your pimple free skin. For good hair growth iron is very essential and jaggery supplies ample amount of iron. If you have Iron and Vitamin c you will find nice hair growth.