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 :-)
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 :-)
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).
A 100 grams of Jamaican wet sugar contains:
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
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)!
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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