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We really have a lot to thank coconuts for. Providing vegans and non-vegans the world over with silky coconut milk, cream, flour, oil, or even just the succulent flesh of the coconut itself, it’s safe to say that these magical tree nuts are truly the gift that keeps on giving.
One of the ample delights of the coconut tree is coconut sugar. So, are you looking for a natural sweetener that is not packed with strange chemicals and artificial nasties? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Coconut sugar is a great choice for people who want less of the refined, processed stuff and more of the luscious fruits of nature!
What is coconut sugar?
Coconut sugar is a great vegan natural sugar derived from the sap of the coconut palm tree itself. Fine in texture, deliciously sweet and ever so slightly coconutty, this wonderful natural alternative to refined, processed sugar is a good thing to keep stocked in your cupboard for a whole host of uses.
Great when used in baking, as a subtle sweetener for tea, or even just sprinkled onto your morning porridge, coconut sugar is a stellar addition to your kitchen pantry.
Useful tips and variations
As always, if organic coconut sugar is within your reach, then we recommend you go organic when choosing a coconut sugar to buy. This is because you’re guaranteed to be getting purer, higher quality, and more often than not, more sustainably sourced coconuts than their non-organic counterparts.
The best coconut sugar out there
With the rise in health food shops in recent years, you won’t find it too difficult to get your hands on some coconut sugar. We recommend that you buy organic coconut sugar - that way you can rest easy knowing you’re getting the highest grade coconut sugar without any GMO nonsense. If you can find Fairtrade organic coconut sugar, even better.
Here are a few brands we believe you can trust when looking to buy coconut sugar:
Unrefined, unprocessed, unbleached: Biona are purists in their pursuit of quality coconut sugar. Made from certified organic coconut blossom nectar, this divinely buttery coconut sugar melts easy but can withstand high temperatures without burning.
You can use this coconut sugar in baking, hot beverages, and melted on popcorn! In fact, this Organic Coconut Palm Sugar is perfect for everyday use in the place of regular table sugar. Biona is a trusty company committed to making artisanal vegan foods with processes that are mindful of the planet.
Another brilliant brand churning out organic, responsibly sourced vegetarian food; Suma Wholefoods is a worker-owned cooperative that is built around the notions of equality, ethical buying, and sustainability. A go-to for the ethically minded among us!
Made with, you guessed it, organic coconuts, this coconut sugar is gentle in its sweetness and has notes of soft fruity caramel.
Using the finest coconuts from sustainable organic farms in South East Asia, The Groovy Food Company has done a great job at making organic coconut sugar accessible to the masses.
Like the others, this coconut sugar is 100% natural and unrefined. You’re only getting the pure juice from the coconut blossom here, nothing else.
Frequently asked questions
Does coconut sugar contain nutrients?
It’s true that coconut sugar does contain a certain degree of nutrients. The coconut palm tree is a bountiful source of nutrients, and coconuts are full of important minerals and fibre. Coconut sugar does technically contain small amounts of fibre, zinc, calcium, and potassium, however, you’re probably not ever eating enough coconut sugar to be able to absorb any meaningful amounts of these compounds.
The real benefits of coconut sugar come from the fact it is unprocessed and 100% natural, as opposed to the highly processed regular table sugars that are commonly used in everyday life.
Is coconut sugar a good option for people with diabetes?
Indeed, coconut sugar has a relatively low glycemic index, meaning that it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels astronomically. So in this regard, coconut sugar is a good choice as a sugar alternative if you want to keep your blood sugar levels stable and prevent them from spiking.
That being said, coconut sugar is still sugar, and it contains carbohydrates and calories that can also cause blood sugar to spike. For diabetics, it is preferable to regular white sugar, however, it’s still a type of sugar, so worth limiting your intake!
How is coconut sugar made?
Coconut sugar is made by the process of extracting the sweet sap from the inside of the coconut palm tree blossom. The liquid will be boiled and eventually reduced into a thick syrup, which will then be left to dry out and turn into crystals. After enough time, the hardened crystals will be broken into a powder that resembles ordinary brown sugar. This is how you achieve coconut sugar!
Are there any negatives to coconut sugar?
Organic coconut sugar is, unsurprisingly, a more expensive option than regular sugar. If the pros of buying sustainably sourced organic coconut sugar are worth it for the higher price, then you know the kind of sugar you’ll be choosing!
Often marketed as a health food, it’s important to remember that coconut sugar is still very much sugar. Although it is slightly lower on the glycemic index than regular sugar, and is unprocessed and 100% natural, try not to go too overboard with the stuff.
How do I use coconut sugar?
Coconut sugar is about the same level of sweetness as regular table sugar, so you can treat it as if it is white sugar and go about your hot beverages, baking recipes, and onion caramelising as usual! Coconut sugar has a subtle, buttery, gently coconutty flavour to it which works beautifully in both sweet and savoury cooking, but especially in cakes, brownies, and baklava!