Coconut sugar is obtained from coconut tree. It is an organic, sustainable and natural sweetener which helps people with chronic diseases or disabilities like: diabetes, cancer, gall problems, heart disease, obesity, etc. It shows promising results, has a low glycemic index and is full of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids). Good coconut sugar is minimally processed, organic unbleached and doesn’t contain any preservatives.
Obtaining coconut sugar
Obtaining coconut sugar
Coconut sugar was one of the most commonly used sweeteners in all Southeast Asian countries before refined white sugar became globally used. It is obtained from fresh juices, which are extracted from the coconut flower within a particular process over several days.
Farmers (who grow coconut sugar) must climb on a Palm tree during the flowering season and closely connect all flowers in it. They have to cut flowers tip so they begin to leak vegetable juice. All the juice drains into a bamboo container. When the flow stops, new fresh cuts are needed. Sweet juice of the each inflorescence can flow for 30 to 40 days with intermediate fresh cuts.
Next step in the production of coconut sugar is heating of fresh vegetable juice in a huge wok. It is important to only use really fresh juices; otherwise fermentation would occur and prevent the formation of coconut sugar. This juice contains 80% water, 15% natural sugars and 5% different minerals. Production of coconut sugar is actually water evaporation, but it is necessary that naturally present sugars and other nutrients stay in the final product. While the juice is heating, foam containing nitrogen builds up therefore it must be removed because it would cause fermentation.
During the process of water evaporation juice thickens and changes color. Dense and dark brown syrup is formed from the colorless liquid. If the end-product is coconut nectar, the process is completed at this point. However, for the production of coconut sugar warming continues to produce sugar paste. Further heating most of the water evaporates and the paste begins to crystallize. At this stage, it is important to continuously and evenly mix with a wooden spoon. Workers then squeeze coconut sugar at the edge of the container. Later they also press it at the edge of coconut shell so they get evenly granulated form.
The use of coconut sugar
Indonesian locals use different forms of sugar in their cuisine: liquid and hardened syrup, coconut paste and coconut sugar in crystalized form. To prepare a simple delicious traditional drink they mix syrup with coconut milk. Syrup can also be used as a spread on bread. More and more chocolate factories use coconut sugar or syrup to sweeten the chocolate. For ongoing use, locals mix hardened form of coconut syrup and water, so they get less dense syrup to use it for sweetening drinks and desserts.
The most popular and widespread form of coconut sweetener is coconut sugar in granulated form of coconuts. It is really handy, easy to use and store. It has the longest shelf-life of all coconut sweeteners because it has the lowest value of moisture (1-3%). Coconut sugar has a sweet caramel taste and does not taste like coconut. It can be used wherever you would use the normal sugar and is ideal for sweetening tea, coffee and other drinks. It can be also used in a variety of fresh or baked desserts. All in all, coconut sugar is really healthy, tasty and easy to use sweetener.