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Health Benefits of The Natural Sweetener - Gur or Jaggery

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

What Is Gur Or Jaggery ?

Gur is the coarse unrefined, pure sugar made from sugarcane juice. It is also called Jaggery. It is known by different names in different places :

  • In Mexico & South America, it is called Panela.
  • In Sri Lanka, it is called Hakuru.
  • In Brazil, it is called Rapadura.

Jaggery, however, is also made from the sap of the date palm tree but in India when one refers to jaggery or gur, it is invariably the unrefined sugar made from sugarcane juice only. Gur has been made in India traditionally since centuries. It has also been consumed traditionally in the rest of Asia, Africa, Caribbean and Latin America.

In recent times, coconut palms and sago palms are also tapped for jaggery production.

Raw sugarcane juice is boiled in huge pans till most of the water evaporates to leave behind a light to dark brown residue called jaggery or gur. There is no further processing and therefore jaggery retains most of its vitamin and mineral nutrient levels.

Process To Make Jaggery From Sugarcane Juice

Sugarcane juice, traditionally was extracted from sugarcane bypassing the sugarcane through 2 rollers which were rotated by making a contraption called "Kohlu", in which 2 bullocks were used to rotate these rollers.

Jaggery production was and still is essentially a rural activity and hence bullocks were used in the olden days. Today, however, electrically run motors have replaced the traditional bullocks in many places while the rest of the procedure remains the same.

Either, the sugarcane juice is collected in cans and allowed to sit for some time to let the impurities to settle down or a chute is used to deliver the extracted juice to a big pan where it is heated. The fire used to heat the sugarcane juice is fuelled by the dried sugarcane bagasse. The temperature is controlled at around 200 degrees F.