Many of us are wary of white granulated sugar, and the processing and refining of white sugar often leaves much to be desired, as it can involve the use of chemicals like phosphoric acid, calcium hydroxide, and can even utilize ground bone char in the refining process.
For these reasons many choose to eschew refined white sugar altogether, opting for less processed alternatives like honey, agave syrup, or maple syrup and maple sugar. Add to this list coconut flower sugar. Coconut flower sugar is a surprisingly delightful way to sweeten your life, and, like honey, agave and maple sugars, it has its own unique-and delicious-flavour profile.
Can you say that about refined sugar? No. Refined sugar is pure sucrose, and the flavour you taste is pure sweet. Do you taste the cane from whence it came, or trace flavours of the sugar beet? No.
But coconut flower sugar actually has a rich caramel flavour, almost like peanut brittle, or brown sugar fudge. Gram for gram, it is just as sweet as white sugar, but it actually has trace amounts of vitamins and minerals. Nobody is saying it’s a “superfood”,but it ain’t all bad. According to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), “Plant Tissue Analysis Laboratory reveals that coconut sugar contains more amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sodium, chlorine, sulfur, boron, zinc, and copper compared to refined cane or brown sugar.”
When’s the last time, B-vitamins, potassium or vitamin C entered the sugar conversation?
Comparative Analysis of the Macro & Micro Nutrient Contents of Three Types of Sugar
|Nutrient Content||Coconut Sap Sugar||Brown Cane Sugar||Refined (White) Sugar|
|Micronutrients mg/L (ppm) in dry matter|
|Macronutrients mg/L (ppm) in dry matter|
Furthermore, because Coconut flower sugar has a low glycemic index, (35) -the value attributed to how quickly carbohydrate is converted to glucose compared to refined white sugar, it is touted as a better choice than cane sugar (50) or table sugar ( over 55) for diabetics.
Coconut flower sugar mostly comes to us from Indonesia and The Philippines Ecoideas is a Canadian company that distributes Coconut flower sugar at health food stores throughout the country and markets like Fiesta Farms.
“Ecoideas is a manufacturer of Natural Health Products and a distributor to retailers across Canada. Our team at Ecoideas strongly believes in the alignment of thought with speech and action, which became the strong foundation of our company. Ecoideas believes in fair-trade and supports business practices that promote job creation and sustainability in countries where our resources are found”-Ecoideas.ca
The harvesting of the sap for Coconut sugar is a far cry from the industrial complex involved with refining cane or beet sugar. The sugar doesn’t come from the coconut itself, but rather the sap is collected from the unopened flower of the tree, the same sap that is collected by bees to make honey.
“For people, gathering the sap requires age-old techniques and great physical agility. A person climbs up and down the tall coconut trees, balancing on a catwalk hung between them. A sharp knife is used to make a very fine slice in the bud. Several incisions twice a day results in the continuous flow of nectar”
After collecting the sap in bamboo containers, the sap, which is about 80% water is placed over moderate heat and the water is evaporated, similar to the process involved with making maple syrup and sugar, until it becomes a thick syrup known as a toddy, and then further reduced to crystal form. The end result is a flavourful, toasty caramel sweetener that is sustainable (the coconut tree isn’t damaged), certified organic, unrefined, additive free and natural.
It is more expensive than white sugar, so you might not want to bake with it on a regular basis, but you should give it a try; it has qualities that white sugar does not. And because it imparts a unique, subtle flavour, you might just find that you use it more sparingly, more judiciously than white sugar. And that might just be it’s greatest health benefit. When things are more expensive, we appreciate them, value them more. We use less, it is valuable.
Is it really better for you from a health perspective? The jury may be out on that.
Is it better for the environment? Yes. And that’s better for all of us, isn’t it?