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**Etymology and Origins:**
– Jaggery’s name originates from Portuguese terms jágara and jagra, borrowed from Malayalam and Sanskrit words.
– It is primarily made from sugarcane, toddy palm tree products, and in some regions, date palm sugar or kithul tree syrup.
– The process involves solidifying concentrated syrup heated to 200°C, with variations in color based on the clarification process.

**Preparation and Production:**
– Traditionally, sugarcane juice is boiled with lime to remove impurities, thickened until it forms threads, and then cooled to form jaggery.
– Dark brown jaggery is derived from whole sugarcane juice, with some manufacturers using trace amounts of synthetic oil, which can be toxic.
– Toddy palm is widely used for jaggery production in various countries, with specific regions having unique methods and ingredients for making jaggery.

**Uses in Cooking and Regional Significance:**
– Jaggery is a key ingredient in various Indian dishes and sweets like gur ke chawal, chakkara pongal, and payasam.
– Different regions have specific names for jaggery made from palm syrup, with Maharashtra being the largest producer and consumer.
– Jaggery holds cultural significance during festivals and traditional celebrations in many cultures worldwide, playing a vital role in balancing flavors in dishes.

**Southeast Asia and Other Uses:**
– Southeast Asian countries like Myanmar, Indonesia, and the Philippines have their variants of jaggery used in cooking and sweet treats.
– Jaggery is also utilized in making toffees, cakes, alcoholic beverages, fabric dyeing, and seasoning tandoor ovens.
– New jaggery manufacturing processes and products are continuously being developed to cater to diverse culinary and non-culinary uses.

**Cultural and Symbolic Significance:**
– Jaggery holds cultural importance in various traditions and is considered auspicious in Hinduism.
– It is used in religious rituals, offerings, and traditional dishes in different regions like Bengal, Assam, and Karnataka.
– Jaggery is molded into candy shapes, mixed with coconut, and used in a variety of dishes, showcasing its versatility and symbolic significance.

Jaggery (Wikipedia)

Jaggery is a traditional non-centrifugal cane sugar consumed in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Central America, Pakistan, Brazil and Africa. It is a concentrated product of cane juice and often date or palm sap without separation of the molasses and crystals, and can vary from golden brown to dark brown in colour. It contains up to 50% sucrose, up to 20% invert sugars, and up to 20% moisture, with the remainder made up of other insoluble matter, such as wood ash, proteins, and bagasse fibres. Jaggery is very similar to muscovado, an important sweetener in Portuguese, British and French cuisine. The Kenyan Sukari ngutu/nguru has no fibre; it is dark and is made from sugarcane and also sometimes extracted from palm tree.

A block of jaggery with a US penny for size comparison
Main ingredientsSugarcane juice, boiled and concentrated.
Similar dishesMuscovado, Panela, palm sugar
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