Wednesday Wisdom: What Is Gur/ Jaggery?
After two gur/jaggery based posts, Jaggery Rice (Gur Walay Chawal) and Jaggery Tea/ Gur Wali Chai , it is due that we should have a chat about gur/jaggery and discuss how it is produced and does it contain any health benefits or not.
What Is Gur/Jaggery:
It is an unrefined product made with sugar cane or date palm.
How Is It Made:
Gur/Jaggery is technically referred to as Non Centrifugal Cane Sugar (NCS) as it is obtained without being spun during processing to remove nutritious molasses. There is a three step procedure involved in gur making.
- Extraction: First, cane or palm is pressed to extract sweet juice or sap.
- Clarification: Secondly the juice is allowed to rest in large containers so that all impurities would settle down. The clear juice is then strained.
- Concentration: Then comes the boiling part. Clear juice is poured into large, flat bottom utensils and boiled to evaprate water from the juice and make it a concentrate. During this process, it is stirred and any impurities that float on the top during boiling are skimmed off. When most moisture is evaporated, the juice turns into dough like paste which is transferred into moulds and containers. Sometimes nuts and spices are added at this point. When it cools off, it holds its shape.
The color may vary from light golden to dark brown, depending on the source it is made from and the way it is handled during the process.
Composition and Nutritional Information:
Good quality gur generally contains more than 70% sucrose, less than 10% isolated glucose and fructose with 5% as minerals. Half cup (100gm or 3.5oz) of jaggery may contain 383 calories, 0.4 gm protein, 0.1 gm fat, 11mg iron, 70-90mg magnesium, 1050mg potassium and small amount of Vitamin B, calcium, zinc and phosphorus.
Sugar VS Jaggery/Gur:
Although gur contains nutritious molasses which is removed during sugar making process. With the presence of molasses, there are small amounts of micronutrients in gur/jaggery BUT it is still mostly sugar and has very little amount of nutrients so it can not be labelled as healthy so its intake should always be kept incheck. A tablespoon of gur is roughly 20gm where as 1 teaspoon is 7 gm Its sweetness depends on the source it is extracted from.
It is claimed to help support immune, liver and digestive health but these claims are not backed by any research or scientific facts. It should always be consumed in little amount as it is a high calorie product and excessive sugar is not good for anyone’s health.
( Nutritional information based on healthline.com)