Author Topic: Coconut & Palm Sugar: Info, Recipes, Tips, Tricks, Where to Buy, Etc.  (Read 2995 times)

Offline herbalmom

  • Guru
  • Posts: 3031
When we were shopping at the HFS for Thanksgiving DH found coconut sugar. We had never heard of it before so we got some & tried it & we all like it. From what I understand, it's made from the juice from coconut flowers. It can also be made from other palms & the names palm sugar & coconut sugar tend to be used interchangeably. What we got is in granular form- it looks like brown sugar & the flavor is similar to evaporated cane juice (Sucanat, etc) but obviously not quite the same. From what I read, it's also available as blocks & paste. It's supposed to be low glycemic index.

So this thread is for info, recipes, info on suppliers, experiences with coconut or palm sugar, etc.

Offline herbalmom

  • Guru
  • Posts: 3031
Re: Coconut & Palm Sugar: Info, Recipes, Tips, Tricks, Where to Buy, Etc.
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2008, 02:12:23 PM »
Bump

Offline daisey

  • Master
  • Posts: 1087
  • Be Still my soul, the Lord is on Thy Side
Re: Coconut & Palm Sugar: Info, Recipes, Tips, Tricks, Where to Buy, Etc.
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2008, 03:42:43 PM »
Thank you for this thread.   I'm having a hard time finding a place that sells it but will keep looking.   It sounds good.
Be Still my soul, the Lord is on Thy Side

Offline hi_itsgwen

  • Master
  • Posts: 1428
    • Gwen's Nest
Re: Coconut & Palm Sugar: Info, Recipes, Tips, Tricks, Where to Buy, Etc.
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2008, 05:51:06 PM »
It looks like this would be available at an Indian or Asian market...most likely one that has a good selection of Thai foods:

This thai food store sells it and provides recipes.  It looks like little sugar poo's.  Is this how it looks in the HFS? ;) http://importfood.com/spca1702.html

Here is more:
Palm sugar and coconut sugars (nahm dtahn bpeep/buk & nahm dtahn maprao): Although the names are used interchangeably, palm sugar and coconut sugar are not the same. One comes from the palmyra or sugar palm and the other from coconut palm, but both are produced from the sweet, watery sap that drips from cut flower buds. The sap is collected each morning and boiled in huge woks on the plantations until a sticky sugar remains. This is whipped and dropped in lumps on cellophane, or filled into containers. Because it is not highly processed like brown sugar, the color, consistency, flavor and level of sweetness can vary from batch to batch, even within the same brand.

The color can be as light as creamy beige and as dark as rich caramel brown, and the consistency soft and gooey, or rock hard, depending on how long the sap was reduced. Palm sugar usually has a darker color, a more fragrant smoky aroma and a more complex flavor than coconut sugar, though sometimes additives have been mixed in to lighten its color. Palm sugar may also be labeled as coconut sugar and vice versa. So it is best to buy your sugar by sight and feel (squeeze the plastic container to ascertain its consistency) than by its label. If you have a choice, select a soft, rich brown sugar; if not, any kind is better than none.

A  soft sugar makes it easier to spoon out and use, but more often than not, coconut and palm sugars come in hard, crystallized chunks which keep better. If so, it is best to cut and peel back the plastic container, place the lump in a bag and hammer it into small crystals for ease of usage. Some people add water and melt the sugar in the microwave; however, this often increases the likelihood of spoilage, reducing its otherwise indefinite shelf life. Neither coconut nor palm sugar needs to be refrigerated, but if it is soft and moist, take care to keep it away from heat and exposure to air which may encourage mold growth. If mold begins to appear on the sugar, remove the top half to one inch; the remainder of the dense sugar may still be fine.

In Asian markets, palm and coconut sugars are available in plastic containers or plastic bags of various sizes and also in tin cans. Although they are used primarily for making sweets and desserts, their creamy, caramel-like sweetness also enhances the flavor of curries and rich sauces for savory dishes. Since the degree of sweetness may vary from batch to batch, add enough "to taste." Substitute with brown sugar only if you absolutely cannot find either. For sweetening light dishes, granulated sugar is preferred over palm or coconut sugar.

from: http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/ingredients/palmsug.html
Recipes: http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/ingredients/palmsug.html#recipes

Here is a site about organic, powdered Palm Sugar:
http://www.ecobuddy.in/PowderedPalmSugar.php

and the nutritional content posted on the same site above:
Here are the detailed lab results from a test of powdered palm sugar.
Powdered Palm Sugar (per 100 g) 
Calcium  660 mg
Iron  13.23 mg
Phosphorus  0.042 %
Vitamin A  85.91 IU
Vitamin C  15.09 mg
Vitamin B1  19.13 µg
Vitamin B2  195 µg
Vitamin B3  1.11 mg
Vitamin B6  0.46 mg


And another description about the way that it is made in India:
http://www.cuisinenet.com/glossary/palmsgr.html
Frequently used in Indian cuisine, dark brown, crumbly palm sugar -- also known as jaggery or gur -- is made from the reduced sap of either the sugar palm or the palmyra palm. The trunk of the tree is tapped and drained of its sap for several months before the sap is boiled down to a syrup. The syrup is then dried into cakes, traditionally in empty coconut shells. Occasionally, the syrup is smoked first, giving the sugar a black color and distinctive flavor.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2008, 06:01:17 PM by hi_itsgwen »
Come see me at www.gwens-nest.com
♥ Check out our family favorite recipes, funny kid stories, natural remedies and other creative and fun stuff.

Offline herbalmom

  • Guru
  • Posts: 3031
Re: Coconut & Palm Sugar: Info, Recipes, Tips, Tricks, Where to Buy, Etc.
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2008, 05:57:37 PM »
The coconut sugar we got is granular & looks a lot like brown sugar- it doesn't look like sugar poo's.  ;)

Offline hi_itsgwen

  • Master
  • Posts: 1428
    • Gwen's Nest
Re: Coconut & Palm Sugar: Info, Recipes, Tips, Tricks, Where to Buy, Etc.
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2008, 06:03:07 PM »
This blog discusses the slow release factor and the fructose content: http://cocopalmsugar.sch.ph/

"It is also suited for those who are meticulously managing their weights. Moreover, it gives slower increase in blood sugar response when consumed because of the fructose content.

Now dubbed as “health food,” coconut sap sugar (CSS) has been developed and improved through research done by the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Coconut Authority (DA-PCA). And the good news is that it is ready for commercialization."

But this report from the Cambodian govt. reports a break down of content by regions, with the fructose levels only in the low teens (on average) with the majority of the sugars being sucrose.  This is an interesting report:
http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/resources/documents/frg/conf96pdf/khieu.pdf
« Last Edit: December 07, 2008, 06:09:05 PM by hi_itsgwen »
Come see me at www.gwens-nest.com
♥ Check out our family favorite recipes, funny kid stories, natural remedies and other creative and fun stuff.