Coconut sugar is prepared by concentration of inflorescence sap, popularly called as neera or Kalparasa®, collected by tapping the unopened coconut spadix. The sap in its original form contains 14–16% sucrose which upon heating at 90–95 °C turns into long threads followed by agitation or beating to form a crystalline or amorphous sugar. The coconut sugar is brown in color and contains 2–3% moisture. Unlike the commercially available sugars which are laden with high calories, palm-based sugars are rich in amino acids, vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and antioxidants. Moreover, the glycemic index (GI) of the sugar is relatively low making it a suitable healthy sweetener for all the age groups. A kilogram of sugar can be produced from around 7L of sap. A coconut tree can produce on an average 400–500 L of sap equivalent to 60–70 kg sugar year−1. A tree which produces 100 nuts per year provides a glucose equivalent of ~ 38.5 kg in its economic yield, while tapping and producing sugar offers a nearly 3.5 folds high glucose equivalent of 133 kg. In addition to coconut sugar a number of second line products can be developed using the sugar as a base ingredient. As it is a healthy product it fetches premium price both in domestic and international markets. Thus, tapping trees and processing sap into sugar not only empower farmers but also generate enormous employment for the tappers, technicians and sales personnel and also assures a quality product to consumers. This review discusses the raw material supply, production and recent developments in the production process, nutritive value, bio products and prospects of coconut sugar.
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The authors gratefully acknowledge the funding for this study from Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) (ICAR-CPCRI Project No: 1000766014).
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Hebbar, K.B., Ramesh, S.V., Ghosh, D.K. et al. Coconut Sugar- a Potential Storehouse of Nutritive Metabolites, Novel Bio-products and Prospects. Sugar Tech 24, 841–856 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12355-021-01101-3