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This month we are featuring coconut palm sugar (aka coconut sugar, coco sugar, coco sap sugar), another natural alternative to cane sugar. Don't confuse this with palm sugar or jaggery, which is made from the sap of other types of palm tree. This sugar is made from the sap from the flowers of coconut trees which is collected by tapping the flowers then evaporating the liquid off in large wok-like pans until it is crystalline. So what makes this sugar a better choice than cane sugar?
First of all, coconut palm sugar is low-GI enough to be suitable for diabetics, so it won't give you those highs and lows and insulin irregularities that cane sugar does, even though it contains more sucrose than fructose. How so?- Well it also contains a fibre called inulin. It looks like inulin helps slow down the absorption of sugars.
Secondly, unlike cane sugar, coconut palm sugar contains nutrients: iron, zinc, calcium, potassium and antioxidants. Vitamins B1, 2, 3 and 6 are also in there.
How to use coconut sugar? It can be used as a substitute for cane sugar, weight for weight. It has a gently sweet, caramel-like taste that works really well in desserts. I did have a bit of a disaster trying to melt it one time, but I have since heard that you can liquefy it using a small amount of water.Here's one recipe using coconut sugar that worked really well, a delicious caramel-y, chunky, fruity icream based on coconut milk and coconut sugar: http://theyogivegetarian.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/chocolate-cherry-caramel-icecream-vegan.html