|Not the most flattering pic, but here's my jaggery syrup|
Now what is jaggery? Its basically non refined cane syrup, just boiled down until you get a brick of mostly solid sweetener, and it originates in India, and can be found at Indian grocery stores. There is a very similar product, either called piloncillo or panela, from Central America, and it can be used the same way.
In other words, with difficulty. Jaggery needs to be grated or smashed up, and then melted before use. Not so simple to use in recipes, which makes me hesitant to use it, even though its the cheapest healthier sweetener I can get.
(And is it really healthier? Well, it's jam packed with minerals, especially iron, and its free of chemicals used to refine it, so yes, it is healthier.)
But then, when I was looking at a recipe to try out, it called for honey, and I certainly didn't want to be using an entire cup of honey in that recipe- that's .75 lbs, or $3.11 just for the sweetener in that recipe. I tried to see if maybe there was a way to use jaggery in its place, thought maybe I could make some sort of syrup out of jaggery.
Hit the jackpot.
Apparently, jaggery syrup is the standard way of using jaggery in cooking- only I didn't know! I'm so glad to have figured that one out.
So, I made jaggery syrup and used it in place of honey for the muffin recipe and it came out perfectly! I am super excited! As for cost? Well, I used .19 lbs of jaggery to make 2 cups of syrup, so 1 cup cost me only 22 cents... much less than the $3.11 had I used honey. And it tasted great.
|Gluten free, vegan, pumpkin muffins, |
sweetened with jaggery syrup instead of honey
If you want to know where to buy jaggery or panela or piloncillo, you can either buy it online (I've found it on Amazon and Ebay) or buy it from an Asian grocery store or Mexican or grocery store geared towards people from Central America.
Once you have your jaggery, here's how you make your syrup.
2 cups jaggery (or piconcillo or panela)- 420 grams
1 1/2 cups water
1. Grate or break up your jaggery- the smaller you can get your pieces, the easier it'll be.
2. Add your water- boiling is better but not necessary, and let sit for 10-20 minutes to soften.
3. Using a fork, your fingers, or a potato masher, mash up the jaggery as much as possible.
4. On a medium or low flame, heat up the jaggery until it is all dissolved.
5. Bring to a boil over a medium/high flame.
6. From when you see a rolling boil, time 6 minutes. Let it boil away for that long.
7. Cool down and use it as you would honey or maple syrup. (In baked goods, as a topping for desserts or pancakes, etc...) The texture will be around the same thickness as maple syrup, thinner than honey. This results in a bit under 2 cups of syrup.
8. If you keep on boiling away, the jaggery syrup will reach first soft ball stage, and then hard ball stage, and you can use it as you would any other syrup in candy making. But I stopped at stage 7.
Have you ever used jaggery, panela, or piconcillo in cooking before? How do you/have you used it? Ever made it into syrup before? Does this look like something you'd try?
If you try to stick to non refined sweeteners, what sweeteners do you tend to use and why? What is the cheapest where you live?
Linking up to Real Food Wednesday and Allergy Free Wednesday.