Jal Jeera Powder Refreshing Yes, but Go Easy on the Salt
Made for the hot and sultry Indian summer, the jal jeera drink is cooling, spicy, delicious and appetizing. While it can be prepared at home or bought from street vendors (who keep it in large earthen pots to keep it cool), packaged jal jeera powder is also available in the market under various brand names. At ConsumerVoice, we soft-tested seven brands of jal jeera, and checked out the salt amount in a laboratory.
al jeera powder generally consists of salt, cumin, ginger, black pepper, mint and black salt (rock salt). The cumin is a medicinal ingredient that aids digestion. Black salt (rock salt) also acts as a digestive, while the mint has a cooling effect. As there is no specification for jal jeera powder in Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011, it is categorized as proprietary food. As per Section 22(4) of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, proprietary or novel food means an article of food for which standards have not been specified but is not unsafe.
Unit price: It helps the consumer to know quickly about costly and cheaper brands. Among the seven we tested, Roopak is costliest and Jalani is cheapest.
Salt percentage was tested in an NABL-accredited laboratory. Salt was the
major ingredient in all brands, varying from 41.99 per cent to 60.77 per cent.
As per a World Health Organization (WHO) report, the recommended level of salt consumption is less than five grams (about one teaspoon) per person per day. Hence, jal jeera drink may be consumed in moderation.
Brand Jalani carries this note of caution on its label – ‘never use copper, brass, nickel & German silver pots’. As most of the brands contain acid, jal jeera drink should not be prepared or served in metal pots.
All jal jeera powder brands were evaluated by expert panellists at the food and nutrition laboratory of a reputed college of Delhi University. The jal jeera drink was prepared by adding five teaspoons (about 25 grams) of powder to one litre chilled water. The drink was served to panellists after thorough mixing because spices tend to settle at the bottom. Scores by panellists were given on a rating scale of 5 (1 for very poor and 5 for excellent).