We saw tons, literally tons, of sugar cane carried on every kind of vehicle imaginable. Much of it was going to a huge processing plant. But we also saw small family operations and Randal asked Sandeep if we could stop and see one. Always willing to oblige, Sandeep stopped and we had a visit and a taste. Sandeep didn’t have a name for the candy but doing a search I came up with the name Jaggery and the photo matched what we had seen so I think I’m right.
“What is Jaggery?”
“Jaggery has a wonderful mellow sweet natural taste with a hint of sour taste. Jaggery or gur is an unrefined sugar loved in India since ancient times by itself, in its cooking and served in its temples. Gur or jaggery has wonderful taste, texture ranges from golden brown to dark brown in color and may be called the natural gold from heaven. It is dried sugarcane, date palms, sap of coconut or sago palm juice. This raw juice is boiled down in iron pans and it is then formed into blocks. The joy of jaggery is the simple processing process which yields a more natural concentrated sugar with its molasses and crystals and many natural vitamins and minerals intact. The jaggery gains iron from the iron pans heated to 200°C. 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 ash, proteins and bagasse fibers”
Fields of sugar cane and the small “processing operation.”
He fed sugar cane into a machine that extracted the juice. The discarded husks were used as fuel for the fires to heat the syrup.
It starts on its way as sludge.
It then goes into these cheese cloth bags where the liquid drains through the cloth and the sludge stays behind.
The syrup goes into a series of huge pans where it is boiled.
The syrup was put into different pans at different stages.
It then was scooped out of the pan and spread onto the flat surface.
Here it was allowed to cool.
The young daughter was feeding the discarded sugar cane husks into the fireplace that heated the big syrup pans.
Randal went off to look at the equipment powering the juicing machine.
I’m waving him back to come for a taste of the jaggery. It reminded me of a corn flavored Caro syrup; and was very thick, sticky and good.
The family was as fascinated with us as we were with the candy making process.
We passed this man selling jaggery from his truck but couldn’t really stop to buy any.
Sandeep said it was the first time tourists had asked him to stop to see the sugar cane processing. We told him we weren’t quite typical tourists.
Sugar cane on its way to a large processing plant.