Got Karuppatti! Buy Your Palm Bella from Street Vendors from TN
Mangaluru: The word “Bella’ is becoming very popular these days-just recently Ideal Ice Cream launched the good-old days favorite “Bella Candy”- and now you can get the taste of Palm Jaggery (Bella) specially brought to Mangaluru by these vendors hailing from Tamil Nadu. And people love to buy it, because of the many medicinal benefits. “Palm Jaggery”, as “Karuppatti” in Tamil is made from the extract of Palm Trees. The process of making jaggery from the plant sources, does not involve any chemical agents and hence all the natural mineral salts are retained without adding any preservatives of chemicals. Jaggery is known to have various medicinal properties and other health benefits. It is a relatively unrefined sugar.
While manufacturing processes in sugar utilizes chemicals such as sulphur dioxide, lime and other bleaching agents, jaggery is prepared in a natural way, without removing minerals. Its mineral overtones and dark syrup has the lingering complexity of taste that can make eating imperative. Palm Jaggery is reported to have more nutritional and medicinal value than cane sugar. It is a good source of Vitamin B complex and it also contains ascorbic acid. It is delicious and has mineral salts too. During pregnancy, elders traditionally give kashayams every night from 7 month onwards to ease up the pregnancy difficulties, widely practised in Tamil Nadu.
Being rich in iron, it prevents diseases like anemia and also contains essential nutrients like magnesium and potassium. Magnesium is vital for the proper functioning of the nervous systems and the potassium regulates the blood pressure and the heart functions. It purifies the blood, prevents rheumatism and bile disorders and is highly nutritious in value. Jaggery is also useful in combating problems like cough and stomach ailments like indigestion, acidity and constipation. Recent scientific research has reaffirmed the benefits of jaggery for the sensitive organs of the human body like the lungs. Consumption of jaggery is useful for those who are exposed to pollution on a regular basis like industrial workers. It has been lauded for its ability to help the human body to fight off the ill effects of pollution.
The benefits of palm jaggery include its ability to cleanse your body, act as a digestive agent, sweeten your food in a healthy manner, provide good amounts of minerals. Highly rich in calcium.People often prepare sweets with jaggery. Jaggery, which is bought in block form, is more nutritious and healthy than regular sugar because it is unrefined, contains no preservatives or synthetic additives, and has minerals such as magnesium, potassium and iron. Jaggery contains slightly less calories than table sugar, has a higher glycemic index and is sweeter than table sugar. Most of the time it is given to women who give birth to a child. If the palm jaggery are given to such women, then impurities in the breast milk would disappear and baby gets the white and clean milk during breast feeding. Even in the case of milking cows, the same thing is repeated after it gives birth to a calf. During this season, children are increasingly susceptible to catch a cold, and jaggery can be used as a cure. Jaggery is, in fact, used in the preparation of many traditional Indian medicines also.
Jaggery has the ability to purify blood and helps in regulating the liver function. A mixture of jaggery and dry ginger powder taken with warm water can stop hiccups. Jaggery helps in regulating blood pressure and also helps the body to get rid of all the toxins. Jaggery is loaded with many essential nutrients such as proteins, vitamins and minerals, they play a key role in many life processes. Jaggery has potassium content that may help in reducing bloating and water retention. Jaggery used as an Ayurvedic medicine comes from palms. A quick fix medicine for common cold, cough etc, it dissolves mucus and clears the throat. Our products are manufactured under controlled conditions to ensure high quality while at the same time retaining the nutrient value, freshness and flavour. While these are just a few benefits of Palm Jaggery, you can try one buying it from the street vendors now landed in Mangaluru from TN.
A group of men hailing from Tamil Nadu with baskets filled with palm jaggery, traditional brown sugar, have lined the highway on the outskirts of Mangaluru near Panambur, and also on the way to Kulshekar waiting for customers who might still prefer the sweetener to the factory-made refined white sugar. With the increasing number of diabetics, traditional palm jaggery is back in favour for its health properties. Since the palm jaggery industry is unorganized and so palm jaggery is mostly sold by vendors who set up shop on the roadsides of towns. These men procure the traditional sweet in large quantities from Udangudi in Tuticorin district and set out in mini-trucks/Maruti vans for various parts of TN and near by Karnataka and Kerala states. They sell palm jaggery, sugar, and ginger-flavoured jaggery pricing it from Rs 150 to Rs 220 per kilogram.
“We travel throughout Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. Since sugar is very harmful for people with diabetes, many prefer palm jaggery to satisfy their crave for sweetness. Of late there is lot of demand for palm jaggery and Udangudi is famous for its brand name,” says S Srinivasan, one among the vendors lined up on Mangaluru highway streets. He further said, “Till the 1960’s, farmers used to prepare jaggery in their homes after extracting the sap from palm trees. “From being a product that was made in every household, palm jaggery has become a rarity and finding one of good quality is a challenge. But the bigger headache is the fake jaggery made of sugar syrup. You’ll have to be careful when you buy palm jaggery on street side, because most of them are not genuine. There is a growing industry manufacturing fake jaggery in Udangudi. Our group sells only home-made genuine palm jaggery. The fake jaggery manufacturing units function round the year producing 10 tonnes of jaggery a day, so it’s not possible to keep up with the competition, but we are struggling to make our living. During Pongal festival we sell a lot of these jaggery”.
Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Nutritionist from a reputed Hospital in the City said, ” Palm jaggery is better than refined white sugar as it has lower glycemic index. Since it is raw, the body takes some time to absorb palm jaggery when compared to refined sugar. The iron and minerals in it are beneficial too. However there is no scientific evidence on the benefits of palm jaggery. But traditional medicine like ayurveda and Siddha use it as an ingredient for various medicines. Diabetes patients suffer from a lot of deficiencies and the palm sugar replenishes them since it has got iron, calcium, minerals and vitamins,”.
With these street vendors from TN landing in Mangaluru with their Palm jaggery, there has been high demand in the district. While ‘Shunti Bella’ or ginger jaggery, which is further enriched by the addition of, as the name suggests, ginger, elaichi and pepper, costs around Rs 220/kg, while plain palm jaggery costs Rs 125-150 per kilogram. The sale of palm jaggery appears to be a lucrative fare for the merchants for TN, who are earning up to Rs 1,500 per day. It is learnt that the jaggery is extracted from the sap of Palmyra palm trees. The sweet sap is harvested from the trees, and processed to make jaggery. The jaggery is prepared in house compound. The sap is collected in a big pot called ‘Taj’. More than 10 people boil the liquid in the pot using dry palm wood. This liquid is mixed with coconut shell and bamboo sticks. The syrup is poured into coconut shells, and kept out in the sun to dry- and there you have the palm jaggery.