Product Spotlight: Jaggery of Vedic India
The Sweet Superfood from Vedic India You’ve Never Heard Of
What Exactly is Jaggery?
Sugar cane is a plant that shaped the course of mankind’s history like none other. Jaggery is one of the byproducts of the juice of sugar cane.
Refined sugar, another product derived from the same plant, changed the face of the earth. At one point, it was even known as “white gold,” but it has a dark history tied up with colonization, sugar cane plantations, and slavery.
Jaggery is a less refined and more earthy product of sugar cane. People in India more commonly jaggery than other types of sugar. In fact, farmers in India produce much of the world’s jaggery.
Ayuerveda & the Benefits of Jaggery
Ayurveda, one of the oldest health care systems in the world, dates back more than 6,000 years to Vedic India. And according to Ayurveda, eating jaggery can help boost the immune system. Ayurvedic practitioners use it as medicine to treat respiratory ailments as well. Jaggery also improves digestion and is beneficial in the ageing process. It is loaded with antioxidants. It may help regulate blood pressure and aid in weight loss, too.
Jaggery, Brown Sugar & White Sugar: What Is the Difference?
While sugar cane juice is the source of all three of these products, there are marked differences between them. The processes for jaggery, brown sugar, and white sugar are all different. As a result, these products vary greatly in taste, color, flavor, texture, and nutritional value.
White sugar is made by processing and refining all the natural sugars found in the cane juice. Ash, moisture, minerals, and the molasses that gives raw sugar its color do not survive the refining process. As a result, white sugar is 99.9% sucrose and contains absolutely no minerals or nutrients.
Brown sugar is made from mixed refined sugar and a specific controlled amount of molasses. Molasses gives it the brown color and flavor. However, the mineral content in brown sugar is insignificant when compared to jaggery.
Jaggery comes from unrefined cane juice that is boiled to a crystalline syrup and then poured into molds. It is dark in color, with shades that vary from golden to dark brown. Variations in the molasses content and the type of sugar cane create the variations in color. Molasses is also the source of minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium—as well as jaggery’s earthy, caramel flavor. It is available in powder and liquid form: jaggery powder and jaggery honey.
Even though there is not much difference in the caloric value, jaggery is healthier than brown or white sugar due to the essential minerals it contains. Jaggery may be less sweet in taste, but it is more nutritious than both other sugars since it is unrefined.
Best Ways to Use Jaggery
People in India often enjoy jaggery as a hot tea with ginger, cardamom, basil, and mint. There are loads of variations of this style of Hunza valley tea. Jaggery is also nice to drink as a refreshing iced tea with cardamom and lime. Just add 1 tablespoon of jaggery to a cup of water, along with a pinch of cardamom, perhaps some black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon or lime, and then toss in some ice cubes for a crisp refreshing drink. It is a good post-workout drink too, as it keeps the body hydrated and replenishes electrolytes.
Another great way to enjoy jaggery? Try eating a small piece of jaggery after a meal as a perfect way to satiate the craving for sugar.
Outside of India, many people haven’t heard of jaggery. Learn more about this incredible ancient superfood from one of our producers in India, Sahaza Farms.
Learn more about Sahaza Farms and their jaggery process from our platform.