Palm sugar is the traditional sweetener produced locally. It is obtained from the palm trees that grow in abundance in our state. The nectar from the inflorescence of the palm tree is collected in a mud pot that is hung high in the tree by palm tree tappers. Once the juice is collected, the tappers will have to boil down the nectar and pour them into coconut shells or bamboo moulds to make the jaggery. This needs to be accomplished within a stipulated period, or else the nectar ferments very quickly into Toddy which is the local alcoholic drink of our villages. It has become illegal nowadays to make toddy.
The sweetener obtained from the palm tree is rich in iron, calcium and other minerals. The process followed to make this sugar is very traditional and does not involve any addition of chemicals or other substitutes. Palm sugar, Palm candy and Palm jaggery is produced from the same nectar.
In addition, we also get nungu, also called Ice apple, from palm trees. Palm fruit is also obtained from the same. All of these are harvested at different times through the year.
The leaves or fronds of the palm tree produces lovely raw material to make baskets. It adds to the income of the poor farmers who depend on these trees for their livelihood.
As part of our “Eat Local, Buy Local, Stay Local” promotion, we have given you information about locally produced palm sugar. We will be adding more locally produced and harvested items to this list.
Be a part of encouraging our local traditions and practices along with gaining the goodness of our local healthy foods.