*Jaggery is a wholesome natural sweetener produced from the sugarcanes, most common in Southeast Asia.
*Also called pilloncillo and panela.
*It is sweet, light to dark brown in color, and is usually available in pressed cakes, chips or powder.
*It is a healthy alternative to refined white sugar.
*It can be used as a table sweetener or in baking to replace refined sugar one cup for one cup.
*It is also used to make candies, granola bars, etc.
*It is prepared by extracting the juice from mature sugarcanes and boiling it to thicken. Then this thickened liquid is poured into moulds and allowed to dry. These dried moulds are either sold or chipped or powdered.
*Buying and storage: Buy good quality jaggery and store in an airtight container or jar in a cool, dry, dark place in the cup board at room temperature. It is hygroscopic, so it has to be stored in an airtight container. It is stable, has a good shelf life and keeps well for up to a year at room temperature.
Is it raw?
No, but pure jaggery is unprocessed. Make sure you read the label.
1. Jaggery has sucrose and glucose, but along with that it also has good amounts minerals and vitamins.
2. It may cause sudden spike of blood sugar levels, so diabetics have to be cautious and use this in moderation.
3. Good source of magnesium. It helps in relieving fatigue, relaxing the muscles, nerves and blood vessels, thus relieving the symptoms of asthma, migraine headaches, tension and soreness in muscles etc.
4. Good source of potassium; this along with low amounts of sodium helps to maintain blood pressure and reduces water retention.
5. Good source of iron that in respiration at the cellular level by synthesizing hemoglobin that helps to carry oxygen to cells.
6. Very good source of manganese, which is an essential cofactor in many enzymatic reactions in the body, especially in the production of energy and antioxidants defenses.
7. Good source of selenium. It acts as an antioxidant and scavenges free radicals from the body.
8. Moderate sources of other minerals like calcium, phosphorus and zinc which are essential to maintain the metabolic activities of the body.
9. Good source of vitamins Niacin and Vitamin B6, which are essential cofactors in enzymatic reactions of the body.