Sugar palm or kaong is abundant along river banks of Philippine archipelago. It has sweet yummy sap coming from its cut male flower. It has sugar content ranging form 10 to 20 degrees Brix. This characteristic makes it possible to process it into sugar. Kaong sugar is healthier compared to regular sugar and other substitute. It has low glycemic index (GI) of 35. Having low GI value, it is safe for diabetics. Kaong sugar can be use for coffee, tea, baking and cooking.
Low-GI foods are slow to digest and absorb. This cause gradual rise in blood sugar and insulin levels, and have proven benefits for health. It was shown to improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. They have benefits for weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger. Low GI diets also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance.
To produce kaong sugar:
1. Get freshly harvested kaong sap. The taste should be sweet, not alcoholic and not sour. Alcoholic and sour taste are results of fermentation. This occurrence will prevent you in achieving powdered kaong sugar. Color should be white, not yellow or gray. If refractometer is available, the sugar content should be between 10 to 20 degree Brix.
2. Boil the sap to evaporate the water under moderate heat with occasional stirring until the sap thickens at 115 degree centigrade.
3. Turn off the heat when it become very sticky or powdered sugar is achieved. Test can be done by scooping a small sample and cooling it immediately inside refrigerator.
4. Continue stirring until the sugar become granular. Pass through slow speed grinder to attain fine and uniform powder. High speed grinder may produce heat enough to melt and caramelize your sugar.
5. Air dry the sugar and pack. Label properly.
Depending on sugar content of harvested sugar palm sap, one kilo of sugar can be obtained from eleven liters of sap. Approximate cost of eleven liters sap is 90 pesos. However, you may spend a lot on fuel cost especially if you are using liquefied petroleum gas. Using alternative fuel such as rice hulls, corn ears and dried woods may save fuel consumption.
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.