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Name Variations Edit
About Piloncillo Edit
Wikipedia Article About Piloncillo on Wikipedia
Panela (chancaca, piloncillo, panocha, rapadura, jaggery, gur) is an unbleached and unrefined sweetener made from sugar cane. It is found in Colombia and the surrounding area of South America. Variations are found in Mexico ("piloncillo") and India ("jaggery"). It is available in brick form and is usually gold or brown in color.
To the untrained eye it may appear as though it is only brown sugar, yet because panela is unprocessed it contains more minerals than refined sugar (brown or bleached). Major manufacturers of brown sugar typically color refine white sugar with molasses.
Panela can be made into sweets but it is usually made into a beverage which can be served hot or cold. This drink, which is also known as "agua de panela" ("panela water") or just "panela", can have a milk or water base. It is common to also add some lemon or lime to the watered variety. Placing a chunk of cheese (queso campesino) in hot panela is also common.
Many claims have been made about the beneficial medicinal effects of panela. It is thought to be helpful in treating a cold.