The search for healthy, natural sweeteners sometimes seems to involve a whirlwind of information. Now a new choice for a natural, wholesome sweetener emerges, and it has tremendous promise. It’s called palm sugar .
Why palm sugar is the next big thing in natural sweeteners?
It has a very rich taste similar to that of caramel or butterscotch and doesn’t have an after taste. Palm sugar is a nutrient-rich, low-glycemic crystalline sweetener that looks, tastes, dissolves and melts almost exactly like sugar, but it’s completely natural and unrefined. It’s acquired from the flowers growing high on coconut trees, which are opened to collect their liquid flower nectar. This nectar is then air-dried to form a crystalline sugar that’s naturally brown in color and naturally rich in a number of key vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, including potassium, zinc, iron, and vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6. It is never refined or bleached like white sugar. This leaves all its nutrients still intact making it a favored sweetener among many. There are many types – the light yellow/pale brown hard stuff and the darker, smoky version. That’s rare for sweeteners, most of which are highly refined. Remarkably, even though palm sugar cooks, dissolves and melts just like regular sugar, it has a far superior taste. The taste of pure palm sugar resembles that of brown sugar, yet with more rounded caramel and butterscotch notes, without the metallic ending flavor that brown sugar has. It has a rich and amazing caramel and butterscotch taste. Overall, palm sugar is not intensely sweet. The consistency is soft and gooey, to rock hard, depending on how long the sap is reduced. The taste and color of the palm sugar depend much on the type of sap, quality of the sap, terroir, cooking temperature and heating time to reduce the sap to palm sugar. You can use palm sugar as a replacement for regular white sugar in any recipe. You’ll get improved taste, improved nutrition and a lower overall glycemic index for the finished food. Palm sugar is not a calorie-free sweetener. It has calories like any carbohydrate, but due to its relatively low glycemic index, its calories are absorbed into the bloodstream at a significantly slower rate than regular refined sugar. This property should be of interest to anyone who is monitoring their blood sugar levels and attempting to avoid blood sugar spikes. Palm sugar isn’t medicine; it’s a food with a surprisingly low GI, considering its sweet taste. You may also see palm sugar sold as “coconut sugar,” which can be a bit confusing, since coconut fruits themselves are not actually involved. It is also sometimes marketed as “palm honey.” In addition to being used in cooking, the sugar can also be treated to create palm wine and arrack, a strong distilled liquor. Good quality palm sugar does not need refrigeration, keeps well when stored in cool dry place.
It is no doubt that palm sugar is a very important aspect in today’s life.