How to Collect Sap from Sugar Palm (irok)

Sugar palm sap  or juice can be processed to alcohol, vinegar, juice, sugar and syrup.  A good quality sap is necessary in order to produce high quality products. The following steps are useful to obtain high quality sugar palm sap.
1. Harvest sap from male flower. The sap from female inflorescence is of inferior quality. Male flower will rot after blooming while female flower will yield fruits that can be processed into sweet delicacy. To differentiate, male flower is color violet while female is color green.
2. Prepare the flower before tapping. Clean the stalks from bracts  and dirt. Rock the stalk once a day everyday until the flower attracts hundreds of fruit flies. Then beat the stalk lightly with stick until it become swollen. Cut the stalk just above the highest flower bud. This process can increase chances of getting a good drip from the stalk.

3. Get a wide-mouth plastic container. Hang it just below the tip of cut stem. Cover it with plastic to prevent insects and impurities from entering. The juice will begin to drip from stem apex.
4. Harvest it twice a day, early morning and late afternoon. For every collection,  slice 5 mm of apex to maintain continuous drippings.  Juice quantity increases during rainy seasons and decreases during summer. It also decreases as the apex get closer to base.
5. Filter harvest with cheesecloth and transfer to clean container.
6. The sap turns quickly to alcohol and vinegar. It is essential to pasteurize it to arrest fermentation if the intended products are juice drink, sugar and syrup.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

3 Replies to “How to Collect Sap from Sugar Palm (irok)”

  1. diba po after 5hours magfeferment na ung tuba?? panu un?? diba matagal magcollect kase patak-patak lang ang tulo?? baka abutin na un ng 5hours tapos magferment na.. that means di na sya magiging sugar!

    1. @kim- The highest recorded sugar content of tuba when it comes out from the stalk was 20 percent (university research study). The content usually range from 10 to 11 percent during sap harvesting, morning and afternoon. You still have time to processed it to sugar or else the sap will be a vinegar. Harvesting three times a day may increase the initial sugar content before processing and more sugar yield can be produced.
      The sugar reduction from 20 percent to 10 percent is a clear sign of fermentation.

  2. Can’t we incorporate coconut oil while collecting? Caprylic acid might be able to slow down fermentation.
    I’m also curious about its pH levels at the time of harvesting.

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