What is Palm Sugar?


Palm sugar is a natural sweetener made from the sap of palm trees.

When the palms are from 15 to 20 years old they commence flowering and it is only then that they yield the sweet sap from which palm sugar is made.

Palm neera tappers have to be extremely agile to shin up palm trees with only a circle of rope around their ankles for support. The sap flows when the inflorescence is tapped but first it must be beaten (gently) with a mallet for a couple of days. A small slice is taken off the end and a receptacle (usually an earthenware pot or gourd) hung close to the cut to collect the sap each night. The sap is known as ‘sweet toddy’ and for those lucky enough to be around when this is brought in, has a taste of ambrosia. The fresh sweet palm neera is boiled down shortly after collection to make palm syrup and palm sugar. If this is not done, within a few hours the ‘sweet toddy’ ferments into a sour, potent brew called toddy, a very intoxicating drink. It is the ‘cheap grog’ of tropical lands and is not fit to drink the next day.

To concentrate the nectar into solid sugar, the fresh juice is boiled down and evaporated before being poured into bamboo sections to form cylindrical shapes, or into coconut shells so they emerge as large shallow hemispheres, or into small baskets woven of palm leaves. In this form, the sugar has to be scraped or chipped from the rather hard block. This gur, as it is called in India, or jaggery as it is known in Sri Lanka and Burma, gula melaka in Malaysia or gula jawa in Indonesia, is used on a daily basis in these countries as a sweetener.There is no identical Western counterpart, but there are substitutes which give a reasonable flavour likeness. Palm sugar is sold in rounded cakes, cylinders, blocks or large plastic or glass jars. This sugar, even when soft, can be extremely dense and very sticky.

This Palmyra Palm Sugar is the only known plant generated natural source of Vitamin B12. Ecobuddy palm sugar retains this as shown in this professional lab report (PDF).

There was no way to convert palm sugar into a powdered form until now. The method we’ve created retains palm sugar’s high nutritional value while allowing for easy use in your kitchen.