Wild Palms and Traditional Craft
Palm sugar is a rarity that is produced from the nectar of various types of palm tree. It is sourced principally from trees in South East Asia, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Africa, South America and the Caribbean. One kind of palm tree is the coconut palm, from whose ripe flowers the nectar is harvested and processed. In the Canary Island La Gomera, the produce from the date palm is called “palm honey”. This sugary juice is extracted from the palm leaf without ever being turned into palm sugar. This method of sugar extraction has been practiced since the 16th century. The category “palm sugar” refers to all sorts of sugar produced from palm trees. The specific type of palm sugar is only made clear if the type of palm tree from which it has been produced is also indicated, as in the case of “coconut palm sugar”.
Coconut palm sugar is a valuable Indonesian and Indian speciality. This plant-based sugar, unlike refined sugar, can only be produced by means of costly and time-consuming manual labour. Each wild palm has about two or three huge inflorescences – or clusters of flowers – that are full of fructose. This precious nectar is harvested in bamboo vessels as the farmer scales the palm and makes a slit in it. The fresh sap can spoil quickly and is thus processed as quickly as possible. It is during this production process that the sugar develops its characteristic aromas of caramel and malt. Before the nectar cools and hardens, it has to be ground and sieved multiple times. The result is a lightly flowing – seemingly melting – golden powder and an unmistakable taste.
Coconut Blossom Sugar
Coconut blossom sugar is a natural sweetener which, because of its low position on the glycaemic index (approx. 32), can safely be consumed by those with diabetes. What’s more, the sugar contains a multiplicity of minerals, antioxidants and vitamins and, because
Palm sugar is harvested by traditional techniques of manual labour. Coconut palm sugar is characterised by a spectrum of tastes, from caramel to malt and even vanilla.
An aromatic alternative
Palm sugar is an aromatic alternative to conventional sugar. It is a precious and out-of-the-ordinary sugar with a subtle sweetness.
Indeed, the very taste that makes coconut palm sugar distinctive – its notes of caramel and malt – can change in intensity depending on its country of origin and the length of time for which it has been cooked. As long as the sugar has not been in the oven long enough to dry out, it should have a potent dampness and a distinctive melting quality. During caramelisation, it should be kept in mind that coconut palm sugar has a caramel-melting point and a smoking point of between 120 and 170 °C. Compared to refined sugar, this is extremely low.
The finest flavours
Coconut blossom sugar is perhaps the most exquisitely flavourful of the sugars, with its notes of caramel and malt. It can be used just like conventional cane sugar and is an outstanding addition to desserts such as cakes, pancakes, hot drinks and cocktails.
Sweet and savoury
Due to its various aromas, coconut blossom sugar is not only suited to traditional use in sweet foodstuffs but in fact excels as a seasoning accompanying sea salt, coriander, chili and ginger. That’s why it is becoming more and more popular as an ingredient in sauces, marinades and dressings.
Coconut blossom sugar is ideally suited for vegan cuisine or gourmet raw food, because it is produced by gentle firing and is particularly rich in minerals and vitamins.