15 types of sugar and how to use them

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Like panela, jaggery is an unrefined sugar. In many ways, it’s another name for the same product as similar versions of unrefined, non-centrifugal sugars that exist throughout Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. They are known by many different names, from jaggery, panela and piloncillo to gur (India), tapa dulce (Costa Rica), namtan tanode (Thailand), gula melaka (Malaysia) and kokuto (Japan) (via Health Line).

Jaggery is mainly made from sugar cane in Asia and Africa. It comes in a range of hues, ranging from light gold to dark brown, and is classified according to its color. Lighter shades are considered higher quality and contain more than 70% sucrose (remember that white sugar is 99.95% sucrose).

Because it contains beneficial nutrients that are removed with molasses in refined sugar, jaggery is gaining traction in the United States as a “super sweetener.” That said, jaggery is still sugar, and you should eat plenty of it for those trace minerals to make a difference. Like all the sugars on this list, use it for flavor rather than any supposed health benefits.

Jaggery can be grated, broken up or melted and used as a substitute for refined sugar. It goes particularly well with coconut, peanuts and condensed milk in traditional Asian and African desserts, such as jaggery cake and chakkara pongal, a mixture of milk and rice.

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