The sap is boiled that same day for about two hours until it is very sticky, then it is churned for about 15 minutes, until it thickens and becomes solid.
A palm tree can start producing sap when it is 15 to 20 years old. A cut has to be done each day, or the sheath will stop producing sap, so you can’t miss a day. The sap collection pays poorly to those collecting it, because Palm Sugar has to compete in price with cane sugar. Sap collection is also very dangerous; people fall out of trees. Many families boil the soil down into a syrup, then sell the syrup to larger producers to turn into sugar. 88 Imperial gallons of sap (400 litres) will make 11 Imperial gallons (50 litres) of palm syrup.
Cane sugar is often added to the Palm Sugar — sometimes cane sugar can constitute as much as 50 to 80 % of what is sold as Palm Sugar. Now, though, in order to be able to market the sugar as more “natural”, the proportion of cane sugar is being reduced to about 25%.
The sugar varies in colour from a light-caramel colour to a dark, reddish-brown colour. It’s formed into lumps that feel and look a bit like soft fudge or maple sugar. You shave off what you need. In some countries, it’s sold in cans. In Thailand, the tins are called “beep” — thus, it’s Thai name of “Nahm tahn beep.”
Palm Sugar is used in South Asian cooking.
Palm Sugar is sometimes also referred to as jaggery, though there is a cane sugar also called jaggery.
Dark Brown Sugar
The usual health food myth that “natural sugars” are better for you than regular sugar is also hauled out for Palm Sugar.
1 tablespoon = .75oz = 1g
1 cup = 12oz = 340g
Store in refrigerator indefinitely.
Called “Gula Jawa” in Indonesia, “Gula Malacca” in Malaysia, “Nahm tahn beep” in Thailand.