The primary sugar used in Barbary Brix caramels is the delightfully healthy and delicious Coconut Palm Nectar! We use it for a lot of meritorious reasons, which I will now illuminate for you below…
- It’s the most environmentally sustainable sweetener crop in the WORLD! Well, at least according The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)…
- It’s lower glycemic than almost any other sugar!
- It’s good for you with vitamins, mineral and enzymes your body needs!
- It tastes delicious on its own or in other foods – especially caramel!
I know what you’re thinking… “Prove it!” So here goes…
Coconut Palm uses a very small amount of water compared to other sweetener crops. In addition, it is grown in tropical climates with lots of rain so the farmers don’t have to do any irrigating. The plants themselves produce a very high yield of nectar for a small crop area and they also – get this – REPLENISH nutrients in the soil rather than depleting it. In addition, the farmers don’t have to destroy the plant to harvest the nectar, making the sugar a renewable resource. On top of all that, unlike conventional sugars like white sugar (mostly made from GMO beets) the Coconut Palm Nectar is unrefined so it retains the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes your body needs in order to digest it well. Which, brings me to my next point – when you talk about lower glycemic sweeteners, it doesn’t get much lower than this.
What exactly does that mean and why should you care? To get a really easy-to-understand explanation of how different types of sugars are broken down in your body, read our guest blogger, Alex Mart’s post here! In the meantime, to make it short and sweet (pun intended), when your body processes sugars it needs certain enzymes and nutrients to do it without causing a huge spike in blood sugar.
Coconut Palm Sugar is loaded with B-vitamins, macro-nutrients like Potassium and Zinc, and plenty of good enzymes your body needs. Eating nutritious sugars, like this, allow your body to break the carbohydrates down gradually without depleting your stored mineral and vitamin resources. So, this is obviously good for everyone but the lower glycemic index make it especially good for diabetics, people with hypoglycemia and children who suffer from sugar-induced spastic episodes (so pretty much ALL of them).
Wanna see a comparison chart of different sugars’ nutrient content? Check it!
Last, but certainly not least is the fact that Coconut Palm Nectar tastes amazing and is a perfect addition to our caramels. Not too sweet but rich and complex, it creates layers of flavor so you end up with a smooth, fragrant caramel that tastes like caramel, not sugar. Don’t believe us? SF Weekly food writer, Jon Kauffman, recently described the flavor by saying: “While the Barbary Brix sweets are as sticky as conventional sugar caramels, the rice and coconut sweeteners give them a deeper, most complex flavor — similar to the difference between a piece of toast smeared with butter-flavored Crisco and one slathered in Irish cultured butter.” You can read more of his review here.
Are you also wondering where we get ours from? I’ll tell you anyway! While over two thirds of the ingredients in our products are local, there aren’t currently any Northern California coconut palm farms so we import this ingredient from Big Tree Farms, a sustainable co-op of small scale farmers in Bali. The technique used by these farmers to collect the nectar is the least damaging to the tree as it involves collecting nectar from the flower (inflorescence) rather than “tapping” the tree for sap. Big Tree Farms’ Coconut Palm Nectar is the most eco-friendly Palm Nectar on the market today and we feel great about their commitment to social and ecological responsibility.
Want to read more?? Here’s some cool links:
- The FAO Report on Coconut Palm
- This research report from The Asian Palm Utilization and Conservation Project discusses the uses of palm in Asia and, specifically, addresses the merits of the three main collection methods used for harvesting nectar for sugar.
- Lots more about Big Tree Farms Coconut Palm Nectar: The Product Facts, FAQ