Gur, popularly known as jaggery, is a powerhouse of nutritional goodness. Most Indians can relate to the elders in their house finishing off a meal with a piece of this sweet. Jaggery is essentially unrefined sugar obtained from raw and concentrated sugarcane juice. It can also be made form the sap of coconut and date palm. It has more minerals and vitamins as compared to the refined sugar. It is a complex carbohydrate, and thus gets slowly released in the blood stream. Delicacies made using jaggery have a more fulfilling after-taste as compared to the regular sugar laden desserts.
Gur is known for its digestive properties and its ability to increase appetite. It is also believed to act as a blood purifier and toxin remover from the body, when consumed in small quantities. It is also important to consume only good quality, preferably organic, jaggery, so as to not expose the body to harmful chemicals. Jaggery is a rich source of potassium and magnesium, which help in maintaining good intestinal health, building muscles and boosting metabolism.
I have been using jaggery for a long time now, since I have a relentless sweet tooth, and my son too has taken after me in this aspect. I use it to sweeten my tea, add it to my glass of lime water and even prepare desserts such as halwa and kheer with gur instead of sugar. My mother uses jaggery to prepare home-made cough drops with just 3 simple ingredients – Gur (jaggery) + Ghee (clarified butter) + Kali Mirch (Black pepper). These are excellent immunity boosters, especially in the harsh winters of North India. There are also tons of recipes available online that incorporate jaggery and that are very easy to adapt. You can simply replace sugar in a 1:1 ratio with jaggery in your own recipes too and then adjust according to your taste. It is an acquired taste, but one that tends to become addictive, once you start using it.
Be sure to buy good quality, unprocessed and chemical free jaggery here-