I am so thrilled to be able to share about this product with you all. I know that many of you already feel that half my recipes have some unheard of ingredient (millet, quinoa, sorghum-hey, they are old friends to me!), and so I do hate to introduce yet another new product to you. But I think that you will be glad I did because….
This sugar is amazing!
What it is
Coconut sugar is a traditional sugar made from the sap of coconut flowers. It is boiled down to create either dry sugar blocks, a soft paste, or a granulated form. I should mention that the names” palm sugar” and “coconut sugar” are used interchangeably, but the sugars are different. This can cause a little confusion. For example, the brand I got was called palm sugar, but was actually made from coconut sugar tree flowers. Since I don’t know the value of palm sugar, I just look at the ingredient list to make sure it’s made from coconut trees.
The brand I have tried (put out by J and A importers) tastes much lighter than unrefined cane sugar, maple syrup, and honey, while avoiding tasting like straight sweetness. It almost tastes like it has just a tad of maple syrup in it. It’s not quite as sweet as cane sugar. It also has the advantage of not turning dishes so brown like rapadura would. Sally Fallon recommends this sugar in Eat Fat, Lose Fat, but I hadn’t tried it until recently. I am so glad that I did! It’s wonderful.
Low on the Glycemic Index
And this is exciting, it actually has a low glycemic index! This may be a good sugar for diabetes. I know that many of you like using agave syrup for it’s low GI rating, but remain concerned about reports of the damage it’s high fructose content can cause. Others of you prefer stevia, but there are definite disadvantages to that sweetener as well (taste, for one).
This sugar’s GI index is at a low 35 (anything under 55 is considered low). Agave syrup’s GI rating seem to vary from 27-41, so coconut sugar is very comparable. And coconut sugar has the advantage of being a traditional sugar too.
I wondered if coconut sugar would have the same characteristics of agave syrup by having a high fructose content, but apparently it doesn’t (which is good news).
“The composition of coconut sugar (also known as gula kelapa, jaggery or gur) obtained from three locations in Indonesia was determined using HPLC. Sucrose was the major component of all samples (70-79%) followed by glucose and fructose )3-9% each). Minor variations in sugar content between samples were observed, probably due to differences in processing, raw material quality and variety of coconut (Pumomo, 1992).” Source
Full of Minerals
On this article, you can see the comparison of one brand of coconut sugar to brown cane sugar to see the nutrient difference (coconut sugar is much higher) plus more information.
Where to Find It
I have found a source for very, very cheap coconut sugar at my local ethnic store (I think it’s Korean). It only costs a few dollars for a quart. So the other advantage is price. It’s very cheap. Check out your local ethnic stores, and I bet you will find it too.
and the rock solid one, which you have to grate to use.
Obviously the softer kind is much easier to use, and that’s what I recommend you get.
But there is one other form that I have seen online, that looks more like a granulated form. It can have a slight caramel taste from what I am told. The kind I get tastes very light, so I am curious to see what these other brands taste are like. So even if you can’t find it locally, there are many online places you can buy it at.
I am still just starting to experiment with it, but everything I have made with it have turned out beautifully! I hope to share some recipes using it soon.
The last advantage? When buying coconut sugar, you help small farmers too!