Food - Drink
What Makes Palm Sugar Unique?
By AMANDA BRETZ
Palm sugar, also known as coconut sugar or palm honey, is a sweetener made from the sap found in palm flowers, which is boiled and reduced to a thick, dry consistency. The sugar is tan to light brown in color and often sold in the form of a solid cone or brick shape, though sometimes it's sold as a bag of granules.
One of the main reasons folks seek out palm sugar is that it's much lower than refined white sugar on the glycemic index: palm sugar's glycemic index is 35, while white sugar has an index of 68. The rich, slightly nutty flavor of the palm-based sweetener also makes it a flavorful, yet healthier option for cooking and baking.
Palm sugar is also the go-to sweetener in many Southeast Asian cuisines, including Indian, Vietnamese, and Thai dishes, since palm trees are found in all of these regions. The subtle sweetness and rich caramel color make it the best option for traditional pad Thai and Gujerati dahl, or pair it with pungent sauces like fish sauce.