“Local populations can easily turn the nectar into coconut blossom sugar. It is a way to solve the world's poverty. It is also an antidote against misery.” Mohatmas Ghandi, 1939
Coconut Palm Sugar, also known as Coconut Sugar or Palm Nectar, is nectar that drips from the flowers of the Coconut (Coco Nucifera) Tree. We absolutely love this sweetener, and are proud to bring you Big Tree Farm's first raw chocolate, sweetened with coconut palm sugar!
This staple of South East Asian culinary heritage and herbal medicine has become the most requested sweetener in global health communities as a nutritious, sustainable, satisfying sweetener. It has certainly earned its spot in our hearts as well as our customers' - you have been requesting we offer chocolate made with this sweetener for the past year!
Coconut Palm Sugar delivers a rich storehouse of nutrients: B vitamins and minerals, including phosphorous, potassium, protein, magnesium, and calcium. Cocos Nucifera trees yield 50-75% more sugar per acre than sugar cane and use 1/5th the soil nutrients and water – and can produce nectar (then granulated into sugar) and coconuts for water and meat simultaneously, thus making it an incredibly sustainable crop. In fact, The UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization called palm sugar the world’s “most sustainable sweetener.”
The Coconut Palm Sugar we use is artisinally produced, unbleached, certified organic, and sustainably harvested. It has a glycemic index of 35 (compared to honey at 55 or cane sugar at 68), and a low fructose content. This low sugar impact is very beneficial for anyone trying to watch their blood sugar - whether a Type I or Type II diabetic, managing weight gain, or just wanting to avoid the "highs and crashes" of sugars!
The Coconut Palm Sugar we use is harvested on the island of Java by Big Tree Farms - a company that works directly with over 13,000 farmers and has raised the bar for integrity in the organic food movement. Big Tree Farms goes above and beyond the basic definition of a socially responsible company, enabling all sales revenues to remain in the local producing community.
"100% of the money from growing, harvesting and primary processing of this ingredient stays in the local communities and we work directly with international NGO’s in order to maintain transparent, socially equitable supply chains.
Through market access and production training, smallholder sugar-tappers have risen well above the poverty line and are able to earn an increase in personal income of close to 200% while maintaining a competitive market price as a cane sugar alternative!
Here is the artisinal Coconut Palm Sugar process:
- Climb up coconut tree and hang bamboo bucket from dripping coconut flowers
- Climb back up and collect the bucket (no easy task, let me tell you!)
- Evaporate water out of the nectar in a pot over wood fire
- Grind caramelized nectar into granules - by hand
- Sweat a lot the whole time
- Get laughed at by Javanese women who think it's funny you've come to do this