Jaggery (Gudd) is a commonly used sweetener in many food preparations in Indian homes and many roadside eateries close to the rural areas. We have been consuming the Gudd over ages but this is the first time ever I got a chance to experience the process of making jaggery from sugarcane.
On my way to Jabalpur, I came across many sugarcane farms on NH-6 (Connecting Madhya Pradesh- Maharashtra) and I decided to stop by and meet few farmers. One of them was boiling sugarcane juice in a huge vessel and I got to know that he was making Jaggery.
Let me tell you that this is not rocket-science. The production of jaggery is very simple and being a small scale manufacturing, it involves only a limited capital investment. The juice extracted from farm fresh sugarcane is filtered and boiled in huge iron containers (kadhai). It is continuously stirred and soda is added in required quantity. A brownish foam that oozes out while boiling is continuously removed to maintain the colour of jaggery. Once the juice becomes thick, it is poured into the small to medium sized iron or aluminum cans and trays and is allowed to cool. It is almost like making besan barfi at home. The outcome is multiple blocks of delicious jaggery which may weigh from 1 kg to 10 kgs. The farmer told me that from about 100 kgs. of sugarcane, 10 kgs. of jaggery can be made. For large requirements, the jaggery is packaged in gunny bags and are sold to the vendors. We picked a 5 kg can and this is what it looked like.