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The tropical sugar substitute with a caramel flavour
Coconut sugar can be used in the same way as white sugar, but its sugar crystals are particularly fine.
Coconut sugar is derived from the flower nectar of the coconut palm tree. Although it is classified as a palm sugar, palm sugar is usually obtained from the flowers of other kinds of palm tree. Real coconut sugar does not taste like coconut, rather it has a dark caramel flavour with a malty undercurrent.
Coconut sugar can be used to sweeten coffee or tea, for baking or to add sweetness to savoury dishes. It is a little more expensive than other types of sugar as its production involves difficult manual labour. The nutrients, taste and versatility of coconut sugar nevertheless make it such a popular choice that it can be found in most supermarkets next to cane and icing sugar.
379 kcal per 100 g
92g carbohydrates, 0.3g fat, 1.4g protein per 100g
|store dry and air-tight at room temperature|
|up to two years|
Coconut sugar is a product of the coconut palm tree, which probably originated in the South Pacific region or South Asia. Coconut palm trees need a humid climate and around three to four years before the juice of their flowers can be harvested for the first time. One palm tree can yield a good harvest for up to 70 years. Nowadays the main producer of coconut sugar is Indonesia. Cultivating coconut palm trees is worthwhile as it is less demanding of the soil than cane sugar, for example, and the yield is comparatively higher over the years.
The sugar is made by collecting the nectar of the flower and boiling it down into a syrup. This process causes the formation of brown sugar crystals that dissolve in liquid but also caramelise. If you are unsure how to use the sugar, simply use it in the same way you would brown sugar. The sweetness and flavour are similar to that of cane sugar.
Coconut sugar has more nutrients than other types of sugar, which include B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, magnesium and zinc. What’s more, coconut sugar does not cause insulin levels to spike as much as other types of sugar. This means that coconut sugar is often regarded as a healthy alternative. Its refined taste also earns it pride of place among white sugar alternatives like agave syrup, honey, stevia and xylitol.
Its caramel flavour makes coconut sugar ideal for baking. Try caramelising cherry tomatoes in coconut sugar. All you need is tomatoes, coconut sugar, a little salt, oil, garlic and fresh herbs. Sprinkle the sugar and salt on a baking tray, halve the tomatoes and place them with the cut surface face-down in the sugar and salt. Distribute the garlic, herbs and oil among the tomatoes and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 180°C. The sweet tomatoes go well with pasta and fish.
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