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Jaggery – what is this sweetener alternative?

Jaggery is a sweetener that is made from cane sugar. Most of the world's jaggery is produced in India. Jaggery has a unique golden colour and caramelised flavour that is a result of how it is processed.

Unlike sugar, jaggery typically contains a small amount of micronutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, B vitamins, and Vitamins A, C, D and E.

How is jaggery made?

The process of making jaggery starts by extracting the juice from sugar cane (some palm juice may also be used to make jaggery). The sugar cane juice is allowed to stand to help settle any sediment, after which the liquid is boiled until it turns into a dough-like substance. The end product is then poured into containers to cool and cut into blocks. Jaggery typically comes as a solid or granular product, but can also come as a liquid if it is boiled for a shorter duration. 

While jaggery and sugar both come from sugar cane, the difference is in the processing.  To make sugar, the sugar cane juice is boiled to a syrup, which is then seeded with smaller sugar crystals and spun in a centrifuge to separate the sugar crystals from the dark syrup or molasses. To make jaggery, the sugar cane juice is simply boiled down. The boiling process to make jaggery means the molasses still remains which gives it a different flavour and nutrition profile to common sugars like raw, brown or table sugar. 

For more information about sugar processing, see the Where Does Sugar Come From? 

How much sugar does jaggery contain? 

The amount of sugar in jaggery will vary based on whether it is in solid, granular or liquid form. Solid or granular jaggery will typically contain about 70g sucrose (sugar), 10g glucose and 10g fructose (per 100g).

 

REFERENCES

  • Nath A, Dutta D, Pawan K & Singh JP. (2015). Review on recent advances in value addition of jaggery based products. J Food Process Technol, 6(4).