Date palm Jaggery is seasonal produce that occupies a pride in Bengal’s history of sweet making. Bengal is already famous for its sweets like Mishti Doi, Sandesh, Malpua, Pantua etc. Date palm Jaggery is produced mostly in winters and Bengal is famous for that.
Ancient Indian scholar Panini wrote a phrase 'Gurasha auang desho goura' in 4th century BC. Panini’s saying meant Gour is the place of gur (Gur meaning jaggery). This explains the history associated with Bengal and date palm jaggery. It is difficult to know when exactly did date palm jaggery or 'khejurer gur' as it is fondly called in Bengal became popular there. Gur got its name because of its high-quality product is produced from sugarcane.
Demand for date palm jaggery has been increasing over the years. Not many people know about its unique and climate-sensitive production. Siulis are the men who scale the thorny trees to get the sap. Getting the sap from the thorny trees is a skilled task. Siuli people climb up the trees at the time of dusk. They cut the end of the flower cluster and hang a container from it. They then leave it overnight to collect the dripping sap.
The tapping of the tree cannot be done in adverse weather like foggy, warm or even the drizzling rains. If it is done in such weather, the sap will become turbid and sour. This is what makes it ideal seasonal produce of winter season. The fresh sap collected from the trees is rich in taste as its sweet, aromatic and clear as water. It is also rich in vitamins and iron with approximately 12-15% sugar. It also tends to ferment quickly as the sun rises, turning the sweet sap into an alcoholic drink.
There are many varieties of date palm jaggery like Nolen Gur, Jhola Gur, etc. Date palm jaggery has inspired many sweets in Bengal. There are many sweets made out of date palm jaggery like Nolen Gur Roshogulla, Makha Sandesh Gur jol bhora Sandesh, Patishapta and Doodh puli.