Monday, March 25, 2013

Eat Coconut Palm Sugar Instead Of … Take Your Pick

Palm trees line a path in Brazil

Coconut Palm Sugar is a savory tasting sweetener  that's been historically used by people living in tropical latitudes around the globe. It's  a nature-made alternative to the products in the blue, pink and yellow packages.

How To Enjoy Palm Sugar's Taste

I use tapped palm sugar in robust flavored beverages like dark roasted coffee and Moroccan mint tea. I like the aromatic flavor with its exotic, syrupy aftertaste as a change of pace from white cane sugar.
The aftertaste is pleasant, different and not too sweet. It's taste is somewhat similar to brown sugar but with better flavor.

This is very unlike some controversial sweeteners produced under virtually pharmaceutical manufacturing conditions, and which seem to taste bitter and sickeningly sweet to me. 

Brazillian Coconut Plantation
Coconut Palm Tree Plantation in Brazil

How Coconut Palm Sugar is Produced

Palm trees produce sugary syrup  in two ways--
  • One, sap exuded by coconut flower blossoms is tapped for coconut sugar;
  • Two, from a tap placed directly in the tree trunk, just like a maple tree tap, to collect palm syrup.
Both products are then heated under low temperatures to produce syrup or crystals.

The Global Love Of Palm Wine

Interestingly, coconut and palm sugar are both made into alcoholic beverages, like palm wine, throughout Asia, Africa  and Pacifica (especially in India, Nigeria and the Philippines).

King Coconut Palm Tree in Bud
King Coconut Palm Tree in Bud

Coconut Palm Sugar Farming

According to coconut oil producer Tropical Traditions, there is some controversy about whether coconut and palm sugar production is a sustainable agriculture practice. Here is the link to Tropical Traditions’ blog about coconut palm sugar agriculture: The Truth About Coconut Palm Sugar.

Many brands of palm sugar are available at health food stores or at online stores.

Diabetes and Palm Sugar

Coconut palm sugar’s effect on blood sugar levels is currently being studied at Wageningen University in the Netherlands with support from a WHO medical research grant. 
Many producers claim that coconut palm sugar is low-glycemic.  It may well be.  But if you are diabetic, please test your own blood sugar level. Then test again and lastly, test once more.

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