The crystallized lumps of sugar are known as Mishri or Rock Candy / Rock Sugar. It is basically formed by heating the water and adding the sugar which when dissolves, creates larger crystals of sugar. People add food colors to it to make it more attractive. Rock candy is known to originate from Persia and India. It is a confectionery mineral and known as Rock sugar as well in some parts of the world. It is produced in Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Mexico, US and China. Rock Candy is used in other parts of the world for many things. For example, in Mexico it is used to make sugar skulls during the Day of the Dead and these are then given to children so that they do not get scared. Rock candy is used in baking breads, making desserts. Interestingly, it is used as a medicine also in some parts of the world. In some parts of the world, Rock and Rye is consumed. This is a combination of Rye whiskey and rock candy. It is also used to make non-alcoholic beverages.
The main ingredient of making Mishri is water and sugar. Mishri is an unrefined form of sugar. It has more calories than sugar and therefore must be consumed in moderation.
Usage in Indian Kitchen
In India, Mishri is offered to Gods as Prasad / Prasadam. It is very well known that Lord Krishna is fond of Mishri and Makkhan. It is used to make sweets such as Mishri Mawa, Mishri Peda and Kalaakand etc. It is used as a sweetener for milk and tea as well by some people. Mishri is a very common ingredient in the cuisine of Tamil Nadu. It is used as a mouth freshener and consumed with aniseed after meals.
Health Benefits of Mishri
- Useful to control excessive cough.
- Improves the eyesight.
- It is used to treat impotency.
- Helps in controlling the ulcers in the mouth.
- Good for controlling weight.
Taal Mishri: The sweet sap collected from the Palmyra Palm tree is heated and sugar is produced called as Taal Mishri. It is considered good for health and also used in making Dessert’s. It is generally preserved in glass bottles for good shelf life. Palmyra Palm Sugar is very rich in essential vitamins, minerals like Calcium, Iron and amino acids. An important vitamin- Vitamin B12, which is mostly found in non-vegetarian diet, is found in this rare plant of Palmyra palm. Taal Mishri has lots of medicinal properties and traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicines. It is good to treat many health problems naturally such as kidney ailments, high blood pressure, cold & cough, breathing problems, anaemia, asthma, arthritis, respiratory diseases, diabetes, leprosy, decreasing pancreas heat, strengthening heart, bones, teeth etc. Taal Mishri is good for infants and growing children because it is the richest source of minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorous and Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6 and C. Taal Mishri is alkaline and not acidic. Alkaline foods are healthier than acidic food. Unlike white sugar this does not make the children hyperactive nor does it lead to hypoglycaemia.