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What is Palm Sugar?

A block of palm sugar.
Palm sugar is coarse and minimally processed.
A palm tree.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2014
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Palm sugar is a sugar that is extracted from the sap of palm trees. Numerous varieties of palm tree are tapped for their sugar, although sugar from date palms and palmyra palms tends to be the most prized. It can also be extracted from sago and coconut palms. This sugar is widely used throughout Southeast Asia, and it has a number of regional names, including jaggery and gur.

To extract the sap, climbers ascend the palm tree and slash the flower buds, placing buckets under them to collect the sap that wells out. Then the sap can be boiled down to concentrate it and evaporate the moisture. Depending on how heavily the sugar is processed, it may be sold in the form of a paste, or it may be dried out and molded into blocks or cones to make it easier to handle.

Palm sugar varies in color from a light golden color to a rich dark brown. It tends to be extremely grainy, with dried forms being highly crumbly, and it is typically minimally processed. Many people like to use it in cooking because it is so coarse and unprocessed, and many Southeast Asian recipes call specifically for this type of sugar. The light processing leaves much of the flavor of the sugar intact, creating an almost molasses-like flavor.

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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 that is popular in some parts of Southeast Asia.

Asian markets are a good resource for palm sugar, and this sugar can also be ordered through specialty retailers. Many companies sell it in jars or tins, which makes it easy to ship and store, and if you purchase a block or cone, be aware that blocks are often coated in wax for shipping. Check for wax before shaving off the desired amount of sugar.

If you have a recipe that calls for palm sugar and you have trouble finding it, you can try using dark brown sugar mixed with a little molasses. The molasses will intensify the flavor of the sugar and also create the desired level of moisture.

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anon243432
Post 16

Coconut sugar can be recommended for diabetics because it has the low GI (35) - not all palm sugars contain the same nutrients, nor do they all have the same GI. There is a lot of misinformation about coconut sugar and palm sugar - many use the terms interchangeably and apply the same nutritional values to both. 100 percent pure coconut sugar is the only reliable source for the nutrient claims. Palm sugar is used as a filler for coconut sugar and it adulterates the quality.

The PCA (Philippine Coconut Authority) has established guidelines for harvesting and processing coconut sap to ensure quality. The PCA now advises importers and manufacturers to only buy coconut sugar from accredited suppliers to ensure they are receiving pure coconut sugar. However, the only way for the consumer to be sure they are getting quality coconut sugar is to make sure the ingredients say: "100% pure coconut sap sugar" (it has to say that to be approved for export). Source info: PCA official government website

anon180504
Post 15

Many Indonesian dishes call for sweet soy sauce, called ketjap or kecap. It's a heavy syrupy sweet sauce that's made of hydrolyzed soybeans and palm sugar. Quite different from the very salty and watery soy sauce from other Asian countries.

anon131135
Post 14

Is palm sugar as bad for you as palm oil is? What is the difference chemically and does the palm trees the sugar is taken from take the place of the rain forests as palm oil trees do?

anon98000
Post 13

Is palm sugar the same as piloncillo?

anon95346
Post 12

palm sugar is good for those with diabetes as the glycemic index for it is very low (35).

anon91804
Post 10

Is palm sugar the same as jaggery?

anon91470
Post 9

is palm sugar good for diabetics?

kim555
Post 7

what are the possible chemical content of sugar palm?

anon47031
Post 4

Do you use the same amout of palm sugar as you do regular sugar in baking?

anon37741
Post 3

Differences between Palm Sugar and Cane Sugar

S No

Cane Sugar

Palm Sugar

1

Cane Sugar is Sweet

Palm Sugar is sweet and delicious

2

Cane Sugar Provides no mineral salts

Palm Sugar Provides mineral salts too

3

Cane Sugar has more sugar content

Palm Sugar has less sugar content

4

Cane sugar has less/no nutrition value

Palm Sugar contains:

a) Thiamine

b) Riboflavin

c) Nicotinic Acid

d) Ascorbic Acid

e) Protein

f) Vitamin C

5

Cane Sugar is less therapeutic value

Palm Sugar is good to the problems of

a) Asthmatic

b) Anemic

c) Leprosy

d) To accelerate growth of young

Children

6

Cane sugar sometimes create ill effects on the health

Palm sugar solution proves a wonderful food in both early stages and chronic stages of typhoid

7

Cane Sugar creates cough and cold when consumed in high quantity

Palm Sugar is good remedy for cough and cold

8

Cane Sugar treats no health problem

Palm Sugar treats following diseases

a) reduction of BP

b) To decrease pancreas heat

c) To strengthen heart

d) Helps to build up strong teeth

e) Reduces pitta

9

Cane Sugar is treated as sweet water

Palm Sugar is treated as honey

anon37561
Post 2

I have been told that palm sugar is suitable for diabetics as it does not contain glucose. Any truth in this? fvpc

anon24302
Post 1

What is the nutritional value of palm sugar compared with white or brown sugar?

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