During recent trip to Punjab, India we saw various small production units of Jaggery on the way. This Photo Journey mainly revolve around the process of Jaggery Production. Let's check out...
Jaggery is a traditional unrefined non-centrifugal unrefined sugar, which is obtained from sugar cane, which is consumed in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. It is a concentrated product of cane juice without separation of the molasses and crystals which can vary from golden brown to dark brown in color. It contains up to 50% sucrose, up to 20% invert sugars, moisture content of up to 20% and the remainder made up of other insoluble matter such as wood ash, proteins and fibers... Whole cane sugar is much more healthy than traditional sweeteners. Unlike traditional brown sugar, vitamins, minerals and molasses are not displaced during the processing of the product. It is a much more natural alternative for this reason and preferred in Indian houses. At least it's in good demand in rural India.
Folks sorting Sugar Canes from remains of these canes after extracting cane juice.
As a first step, good quality sugar-canes are sorted and a huge machine is used for extracting juice out of those. Juice flows to a huge container from the machine you see in above Photograph. Of-course, someone needs to feed sugar-canes into this machine and also need to pull out the rough material created after crushing the Sugar-Canes.
:) ... So here is the container where juice goes and this foam is removed out of the juice. After removing the clearly visible stuff out of the juice, it's put into thick cloth which is hanged on top of another container which will get comparatively cleaner juice, but still it doesn't take the shape for further processing to get Jaggery. Have a look at below photographs to see how the impurities are taken away from the sugar-cane juice
A Photograph with two huge packets of sugar-cane juice for removing impurities before processing it for creating Jaggery.
After these two basic steps of purifying Sugar-Cane juice, some chemical powder is used for further purification which makes impurities float on top of the juice and juice is put purified further. Finally when juice looks in good shape it is put in a huge container surrounded by an oven.
Juice is continuously stirred and slowly it starts converting into red color. This is one of the critical step when proper care needs to be taken for having good quality jaggery. When it changes to reasonable thickness, it's taken out of the container and placed on a flat surface to get it cold. Finally jaggery pieces are extracted out of the surface and put in smaller containers to give a particular shape which varies from one production unit to other.
Jaggery is made of the products of both sugarcane and the Date palm tree. The sugar made from Sugar Cane is both more prized and less commonly available outside of the regions where it is made. In Sri Lanka, syrup extracts from Caryota urens trees are widely used for jaggery production. This is considered the best quality jaggery available in local market and is given a higher value than jaggery coming from other sources.
Check out following link to know more about Jaggery - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaggery
At times this Jaggery is further processed to sell in form that it can enjoyed by travelers on highway. Here is a photograph showing travelers stopping their cars outside these Jaggery production units to buy some stuff for their journey and home.
Here is the proud owner of this Jaggery production unit near Amritsar City of Punjab, India.