Old- Time Jamaican Wet Sugar 
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Jamaican Wet Sugar by Wellesley Gayle || August 2017

Wet Sugar? "What is that" you asked. Well, I'll answer by telling you that it might be your new best friend :-)

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What Is Wet Sugar?

Wet sugar, as we call it in Jamaica, is the most  natural from of cane sugar. I think they call it Muscovado sugar, in other parts of the world.

You already know our history, the sugar plantation, and stuff like that right?

Well, one good legacy (perhaps) would surely be the skills we acquired in making sugar, and this 'wet sugar' is arguably the best part!

You know that table sugar comes at the extreme end of the sugar making process right? Before that, there is all the all the good stuff, including molasses, rum etc.

Well the wet sugar includes all that!

The sugar cane juice goes through a boiling process and then and cooled producing it. (See the traditional process below). And so it is said to include all the nutrients of the cane juice itself! (Read the benefits here)

Growing up, I've always loved it, it gooey, creaming and has a distinctive taste. My grandparents, especially in the earlier days, always seem to have some stored secretly away.

But it has been a while, a long while since I've had it!

Thanks to my uncle Raphie, I finally secured another bucket full (yes literally, 1 gallon) directly from the source! And I am bouncing off the walls :-)

jamaican_wet_sugarJamaican Wet Sugar

Health Benefits Of Jamaican Wet Sugar

I've appreciated it for giving a good rest, I mean sleep. It is said to calm and soothe you, and is particularly great for those who can't seem to sleep well at nights!

But I've been doing some research and found that's just the tip of the iceberg, it has some amazing properties (which includes those of molasses and the cane in its original form).

By the way, counter to what you would expect – sugarcane juice contains just about fifteen percent sugar content! The rest of the juice consists of liquid brimming with an abundance of vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, iron and zinc. Source

A 100 grams of Jamaican wet sugar contains:

  • 3.9 mg of phosphorus, 
  • 85 mg of calcium, 
  • 23 mg of magnesium, 
  • 100 mg of potassium and 
  • 1.3 mg of iron.

In the vitamin department, it contains vitamin A, C, B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6 plus a high concentration of phytonutrients including chlorophyll, antioxidants, proteins, soluble fiber and other healthy compounds.

Here are just a few of the health benefits

  • Great for a boost of iron

    It iss one of the few great non-animal sources of iron. Many doctors and midwives recommend 1-2 tablespoons a day for those with anemia or related disorders
  • Great for digestion

    Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and manganese also make its beneficial for digestion
  • Great for hair

    It contains copper which is important for hair growth. Used internally and externally it may help improve hair growth and some people even report that it helped reverse graying hair and brought back their natural hair color when used regularly. 
  • Great for cooking!

    It has an amazingly rich flavor that can add depth to many dishes including marinades, dressings, sauces and smoothies

Traditional Jamaican Wet Sugar Production (Gleaner YouTube)

Simply click the play button below.

I've was having a discussion with my other uncle Toney about these very things last week! I have always been amazed at how our fore-parents lived so long with all the lack and deprivation then.

But it came to me that that this is it! They have always worked hard (manual labour) but a lot of it was the healthy, natural food they had then, including stuff like this (Jamaica Wet Sugar)!

Where To Get Jamaican Wet Sugar

Admittedly, wet sugar is clearly not as easy to get as it might have been 30- 50 years ago, but most of the sugar factories in Jamaica should still have it.

An aspect of the The Appleton Rum Tour here in St. Elizabeth, I understand, not only demonstrates this process (the modern process) to visitors, but even allows them to taste it!

Of course, you may also contact me :-)

I could reach out to uncle Raphie and have it get it at his friend, Mr. Boobs, the old man who does it up in Pinnickwood in the hills of Westmoreland for you.

He is one of the few small operators left in the island now.

Anyway, I hope this was really insightful for you, especially as we reminisce on old time Jamaica during our Jamaica55 celebrations.


See also: The colonial history of Jamaica

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A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' - since April 2007.  

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