Indonesian palm sugar is a natural sweetener made from the sap of palm trees, and usually it comes in round block- or half cylinder-shape depending on the molds.
In order to produce sap, a palm tree has to be 15 – 20 years old. Palm trees only flower when they are matured, in which the sweet sap is yielded. The species of this tree is called Arenga pinnata.
The Making Process
The process in making palm sugar is quite easy (I am being sarcastic!). You’ll have to know how to climb a palm tree manually with the help of a piece of rope around your ankle for support. Once you are up there, find the male flower buds, tie them very very tight to prevent them from flowering. The nutrients that are supposedly used to nourish the flowers will become liquid sugar. After you let the buds tied from a few days to a week, they will become swollen. This is the time when you climb up there again and slice open the bud a little so that you can collect the liquid with a bucket made of the leaves. Then cook the liquid for 4 – 6 hours until it is reduced and become thick. Once it reaches the desired consistency (dense and sticky), pour it into molds. Once they are cooled, they become solid. Take them out and you are ready to cook. Ha!
Well…. it is not that simple. Check out the video on youtube. It is in Indonesian, but it captures what I write above. 😉