Palm Sugar / Palm Jaggery
Palm sugar is a sugar that is extracted from the sap of palm trees. To extract the sap, climbers ascend the palm tree and slash the flower buds, placing buckets under them to collect the sap that wells out. Then the sap can be boiled down to concentrate it and evaporate the moisture. Depending on how heavily the sugar is processed, it may be sold in the form of a paste, or it may be dried out and molded into blocks or cones to make it easier to handle.
Palm sugar varies in color from a light golden color to a rich dark brown. It tends to be extremely grainy, with dried forms being highly crumbly, and it is typically minimally processed. Many people like to use it in cooking because it is so coarse and unprocessed, and many Southeast Asian recipes call specifically for this type of sugar. The light processing leaves much of the flavor of the sugar intact, creating an almost molasses-like flavor.
It is a relatively unrefined sugar. While manufacturing processes in sugar utilizes chemicals such as sulphur dioxide, lime and other bleaching agents, jaggeryis prepared in a natural way, without removing minerals.
Its mineral overtones and dark syrup has the lingering complexity of taste that can make eating imperative.
Palm Jaggery is reported to have more nutritional and medicinal value than cane sugar. It is a good source of Vitamin B complex and it also contains ascorbic acid. It is delicious and has mineral salts too.
Jaggery is used since ancient times to treat problems such as dry cough, common cold and asthma, it dissolves mucus and clears the throat.
Being rich in iron, it prevents diseases like anemia and also contains essential nutrients like magnesium and potassium. Magnesium is vital for the proper functioning of the nervous systems and the potassium regulates the blood pressure and the heart functions.
It purifies the blood, prevents rheumatism and bile disorders and is highly nutritious in value. Jaggery is also useful in combating problems like cough and stomach ailments like indigestion, acidity and constipation. Recent scientific research has reaffirmed the benefits of jaggery for the sensitive organs of the human body like the lungs. Consumption of jaggery is useful for those who are exposed to pollution on a regular basis like industrial workers. It has been lauded for its ability to help the human body to fight off the ill effects of pollution
Palm jaggery is a natural sweetner and Energy Food, it is very rich in minerals, predominantly iron with traces of other mineral salts. The benefits of palm jaggery include its ability to cleanse your body, act as a digestive agent, sweeten your food in a healthy manner, provide good amounts of minerals. Highly rich in calcium.
People often prepare sweets with jaggery. Particularly for naivedyam, jaggery sweets are preferred to sugar sweets. Our elders, they may not have degrees, but they do know where the ingredients come from and how they are made. They avoid sugar in naivedyam.
Jaggery, which is bought in block form, is more nutritious and healthy than regular sugar because it is unrefined, contains no preservatives or synthetic additives, and has minerals such as magnesium, potassium and iron. Jaggery contains slightly less calories than table sugar, has a higher glycemic index and is sweeter than table sugar.
It is highly priced due to its medicinal properties and it makes it a unique product that can be used by people of all ages. Due to its cooling effects over human body, it is of high value. It does not have the bone meal content which is used for whitening processed sugar. Palm jaggery is quite popular in the Southern states of Tamil Nadu (called Karupattivellam or panavellam),
Palm Jaggery is rich in calcium, proteins, iron and other useful vitamins and minerals, therefore, very good for anemic people, as it increases the haemoglobin level in the blood.
Jaggery is a healthy alternative to white sugar and is commonly known as 'medicinal sugar', because of its various health benefits.
Jaggery acts as a cleansing agent for our body and effectively cleans the respiratory tracts, food pipe, lungs, stomach and intestines. It helps the body to get rid of the unwanted particles and thus provides relief from constipation.
Jaggery proves as a great digestive aid and speeds up the process of digestion. Eating a few grams of jaggery after a heavy meal is often recommended for those having problems with normal digestion. In the body, jaggery activates the various digestive enzymes and itself gets converted to acetic acid, thus speeding up digestion.
Jaggery is a rich source of many vital minerals that are required by the body for normal growth and functioning. It is considered as a store house of various important minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, etc. potassium content that may help in reducing bloating and water retention.
It is beneficial in treating conditions like indigestion and constipation.
Jaggery helps in promoting relaxation of muscles, nerves and blood vessels, thus enhancing their functions.
Migraines, the most painful and uncomfortable type of headaches can be relieved to a large extent by jaggery.
Jaggery has strong antioxidant properties and protects our body cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
Jaggery has the ability to purify blood and helps in regulating the liver function.
A mixture of jaggery and dry ginger powder taken with warm water can stop hiccups.
Jaggery helps in regulating blood pressure and also helps the body to get rid of all the toxins.