About Jaggery Edit
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Jaggery is the traditional unrefined sugar of India. Although the word is used for the products of both sugarcane and the date palm tree, technically, jaggery refers solely to sugarcane sugar. The sugar made from the sap of the date palm is called gur, and is both more prized and less available outside of the districts where it is made. Hence, outside of these areas, sugarcane jaggery is sometimes called gur to increase its market value. The sago palm and coconut palm are also now tapped for producing jaggery in southern India. In Mexico and South America, similar sugarcane products are known as panela, or piloncillo.
All types of the sugar come in blocks or pastes of solidified concentrated sugar syrup heated up to 200 °C. Traditionally, the syrup is made by boiling raw sugarcane juice or palm sap in a large shallow round-bottom vessel as shown here.
Jaggery is considered by some to be a particularly wholesome sugar and, unlike refined sugar, retains more mineral salts. Moreover, the process does not involve chemical agents. Indian Ayurvedic medicine considers jaggery to be beneficial in treating throat and lung infections; Sahu and Saxena found that in rats jaggery can prevent lung damage from particulate matter such as coal and silica dust (1994).
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