How to identify Good quality/ Pure Jaggery or Gud// Know all about Pure Jaggery // How to tell the jaggery is pure and of good quality?//
What sort of Post is this? A Gud is Gud? What quality check/ purity check does one need to buy them?
Well.. Well… A) You have to be an epicure to understand such things about gud.. B) You have to have a sweet tooth, C) you have to have a highly defined taste bud to understand the importance of good, quality jaggery. For every Bong, winter is nostalgia.. sweets made of gud, what we call ‘Nolen Gurer Misti’, then there’s payesh (Indian pudding) made of gud (oh it’s like the goddess is serving a slice of nirvana to you), then there are pithe, patisapta.. yummy yumm yumm.. I am not a fan of winter but if there is one good reason for which I survive these few cold months, it’s for the love of these sullied oblivions. You have to be a bong at heart to understand what ‘sullied oblivion’ can be..
However.. focusing on the subject of the day.. defining good quality/ pure jaggery is very important, even if you are not that of a jaggery fan.. to mention here that jaggery has many other uses and various health benefits.. & these benefits are only applicable when you are having good quality jaggery. In today’s world of high demand/ higher population, it’s not easy.. rather it’s very very difficult to get pure solid patali gud (as they come in small round flat bars, they are called patali). At this age, only our grandparents who are experts in cooking or your folks from country-side Bengal can tell you what good jaggery/ gud is..
My roots are connected to a Bengal village and my mother, my grandmother, uncle and, my cousins just know what a good quality, pure jaggery is. And I am blessed enough to have an experience of such pure bliss, though temporary, as it’s difficult these days to find people who know the art of making clarified jaggery, the next generation doesn’t show that interest in this business many times. However, people or not, facts remain as it is. SO let me share what I know about the qualities of jaggery:
The Best Gud or Jaggery..
Comes from the juice extracted from Jiren kath of a palm tree. Jiren kath means, when the tree has been given enough rest (from Jirano came jiren means rest) between 2 extraction processes of the juice from its trunk (it’s a time taking process and quite a difficult one & this raw juice is amazing if drank cold on a winter morning and unrefined for sure). Now.. technically, there’s no way to understand this (i.e. whether the gud is made of jiren kath) by the look of the jaggery, only the good taste of the gud does all the talking. This is a theory I wanted to share (just to let you know that I know!!), but while buying a first-rated gud from market you can follow the below to identify a quality bar of gud.
1. The darker the colour, the better the quality of the Jaggery.. X X X this concept is WRONG.. Very WRONG with super bold capital letters!! 98% of people will deny these facts..
The colour of real/ good quality/ pure jaggery/ Patali Gud (as we call in Bengali) will be just like milk chocolate. It can be little lighter, like almond colour, but definitely not darker than what a milk-chocolate looks like.
2. A good quality jaggery will be soft. NO matter how big, thick the block of the jaggery is, you should be able to break the block with your hands, NOT with the help of any hammer. After taking it out from the fridge (if you are keeping it there, which you have to do once you bring it home) just wait for 30 seconds and you can break jaggery block with your hands.
That’s a good quality jaggery. That is pure Jaggery. It should melt in your mouth as soon as you taste it, no sugary crunch, simple creamy, flavourful joy; and you should feel heavenly.
Now, where do you get it?
Good question!! But difficult to answer..
- If you know anyone in a village where palm trees grow a lot, you better don’t break any connection with them; you should hold them till life to pester them to get you good quality jaggery in the winter months. If you manage to do this, you will be the ultimate hero of your house.
- Then, nowadays lot of handicraft fares are taking place all across Bengal, India, sometimes abroad, you may have bought from there, but do judge a bit before buying.
- Few known sweet shops sell jaggery during season time. You get them in market during this time, but you have to be very careful while buying them of course.
- Then jaggeries are also available online these days, though I have never used them personally, can’t give any feedback here.
*** Can I teach you trick here.. many times the shopkeeper doesn’t show you his best for the very first time. Just tell him that good quality jaggery will be soft and melt in hand and it should not be very dark in colour. You will see a change in their expression and they will take out their best from somewhere underneath and will present you very secretly. Trust me this trick works (Though I am giving you my mum’s secrets, but try it)..
Why buying good jaggery is important:
- Eating jaggery is good for health
- Apart from making Bengali sweet dishes, pithe.. you may make mouth watering caramel sauce, cakes and lot of deserts with jaggery
- Having a small piece of jaggery every day or on alternate days is good for your health
- You may have jagegry with milk
- Jaggery can be a good substitute of sugar (doesn’t mean you will have ladles full of jaggery for that, stop jumping), it’s low in calorie and..
- And most importanty, even if you are not interested in all these ‘healthy’ talk, the pure the jaggery, better your desert.. do you need a better excuse? Pure jaggery can repair your mood, can melt your broken/ always bouncing heart.. It’s ethereal. & I am not exaggerating a bit here..
No need to thank me here.. I mean phoo!! But next time when you go to buy Gud, be the judge and take your decision to buy gud. You can do that now right??