WHAT IS IT?
Coconut sugar is a form of palm sugar. The flower bud stem of a coconut tree is tapped when farmers cut into the stem. The sap, translucent, then flows into containers. It is, at this point, about 80% water.
It is placed over moderate heat to evaporate off the moisture content. A thick sap syrup forms. Its brownish color, which develops as the sap is reduced over the heat, is caramelization, which is what imparts it with the wonderful flavor.
It is then sold in liquid, crystal, block, or soft paste form. General markets, like Whole Foods, sell the granulated product. Asian markets will sell the block and soft paste.
Bakers, and confectioners, around the world are finding out the power of its sweetness. It also works great for meat rubs, jerky, and many other uses.
There is a LOT of hype about Coconut sugar. Let’s separate the fact from the fans.
The lower the glycemic index (GI) number, the better for you, and your family. The Philippine Food and Nutrition Research Institute rates coconut sugar at 35 GI, about half of that of normal table white sugar, 60 GI to 65 GI, half of light brown sugar, about 68 GI, and a third lower than cane sugar (50 GI).
White sugar is highly refined sucrose, which is why it is far sweeter. Conventional “brown” sugar is just white sugar with molasses added to it.
Take one away from the many pro-Big-Sugar advocates who say it’s not fundamentally different from white table sugar (sucrose).
Where its’ crazed fans are wrong, though: 70% of Coconut Sugar is unrefined sucrose, with the other 30% being floating fructose and glucose molecules.
Many Keto sites, and coconut sugar producers make some really embarrassing health claims.
Yes, compared to refined sucrose, it is much higher in vitamins, with a big “HOWEVER.”
In a laboratory, it has more potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron, along with vitamins: B1; B2; B3; and B6. Compared to brown sugar it has double the iron, four times the magnesium and tenfold as much zinc.
Now, the HOWEVER: Many of these minerals, and vitamins are trace. They do not contribute materially, to your daily diet, without you consuming massive, and highly toxic amounts of sucrose and fructose.
SO, what you can say: You get a better sweet, slightly healthier sweet, and a big boost in taste, when compared to light brown sugar (LBS).
The taste of coconut sugar, as a replacement for light brown sugar, is superior. It has a sweet, caramel, faintly nutty flavor to it. Like all sugars, less is more. The flavor profile of LBS helps with that hugely.
The Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand are the three biggest producers of coconut sugar. It is relatively new to the North American marketplace, but it is growing in popularity. Anthony’s comes from the Philippines in bulk, and then is packaged in California.
- Certified USDA Organic Coconut Sugar by CCOF
- Biko (Filipino Sticky Rice Cake);
- Buyako (Filipino Coconut Candy);
- Klepon (Indonesian rice balls stuffed with coconut sugar);
- Indonesian black (forbidden) rice pudding
- Sego Gula Maleka (Malyasia) aka Frog Spawn (UK);
A FEW IMPROVISATIONAL RIFFS
- Forbidden rice pops;
- The “brown” sugar in my BFVB (Banana-Fennel-Vanilla-Bean) muffins;
- Peanut butter-coconut cookies;
- Part of the crust of my sautéed, then broiled, spicy-sweet Sam’s Pan Fish.
Plentiful palms find many uses throughout Asia, Indonesia, and the South Pacific. Coconut palms provide a richer, more caramelized sugar than other palm sugars, or a coco palm-other palm mix. They have been part of diets, in those parts of the world, for more than 6,000 years!
- Gula jawa – Indonesia
- Gula merah – Indonesia
- Coco sugar
- Coconut palm sugar
- Coco sap sugar
- Coconut blossom sugar
There are a lot of coconut sugar producers out there, these days. I’ve come to really like the Anthony’s brand, though, because it think it has better flavor. It is more costly than conventional light brown sugar? Hell yes! Is it worth it? I’ll put my five diamond Choicestuff™ ranking of it out there to put my ratings where my mouth is… enjoying Anthony’s Organic Coconut Sugar!