Story of Jaggery


Jaggery/ Vellum/ Bella/ Gur

Jaggery is the quintessential Indian sweetener used in most of our desserts, chutneys, sauces and our sweets during important festivals or during a function.  Be it Diwali, Dussehra, Ganesh Pooja, Eid, Christmas or an engagement or wedding function at home, we use this delightful thing to offer our deity during a prayer or prepare it for our guests during a function.

Jaggery is originated and cultivated in India for thousands of years. It is produced in 25 countries and India is the largest producer and consumer. You can see the mention of Jaggery in the Ayurvedic scripts along with the mention of its ample health benefits. They are extensively used in Ayurvedic medicines. It is a blood purifier, improves digestion, makes your bones strong and keeps your lungs healthy. It also has anti- inflammatory properties, used for treating digestive problem. It also enhances your cardiac functions. Ideally jaggery is more nutritious than sugar as it contains minerals such as zinc, iron, and selenium. It has low sucrose when compared to white sugar.  What’s fascinating is that the Portuguese invented this ingredient in India in 1600s and slowly and surely we began to use them in almost all of our desserts, sweets as a medication and other recipes.

I remember my grandparents asking me to consume powdered jaggery mixed with Sesame seeds and little ghee for my health benefits when I was younger. Although both sugar and jaggery are produced from sugarcane, since they are processed differently, sugar loses all its nutritional value, while jaggery retains it.  That apart, if you’re planning to lose weight, do not make a false attempt to replace jaggery for sugar as the calories will remain the same. 

There are three types of Jaggery, Sugar jaggery made of Sugarcane Juice, coconut Jaggery made of coconut sap and Palm Jaggery made of Date Palm sap. The most commonly used are Sugar Jaggery and Palm Jaggery.

Pure jaggery will be in crystalline form, the ones we buy from the market has these crystals removed. It is usually dark brown colour. The light brown or off white colour jaggery are usually adulterated.

So the next time you consume Indian sweets made of jaggery, you may eat without hesitation as it is surely comes with some health benefits. 

Hope you enjoyed reading this content. See you soon with a story of another ingredient or a recipe. 

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