I have talked a lot of things about the coconut flower on the coconut series last month.
Yes, the coconut flower bud or wrapped coconut flower produce sweet liquid that we call 'nira'.
Nira is usually used to make sugar, drink, alcohol or just for sweetener on making traditional dishes.
The end of the flower is usually cut by the sharp knife to make the nira flows.
Then the nira will be collected using bamboo containers.
Farmers harvest the nira twice a day in the morning and afternoon.
Look ... the farmer after harvesting nira.
Nira will be processed soon to get a good quality of sugar.
Cause this liquid will be fermented soon on the open air.
The fermented nira will produce low quality of sugar cause it couldn't get harden.
Then the nira will be strained and boiled for about 4-6 hours, until the liquid have thicken.
During the boiling process the nira have to stir regularly to avoid caramelize.
Farmer usually use fire woods for their stove, cause the sugar have woody smell, so authentic.
When the liquid turns thick and brown, it means ready to be inserted into the molds.
The mold is usually made from so many materials, such as bamboo, stainless steel, and batok/tempurung kelapa (the endocarp of coconut fruit).
The shape of the molds is also so various, and it influence the shape of the sugar.
There are tubular, globular, disc, and many more.
The molds will be put on the tray, then the thick liquid will be poured into the molds.
Wait for about 1 -2 hours, and the coconut sugars are harden, then ready to be removed from the molds.
The coconut sugar is ready to be packed.
Yes, this is kind of coconut sugar on block shape.
We also found liquid coconut sugar and coarse powder coconut sugar that here we call it as 'gula semut'.
The coarse powder form is usually for international trade, cause it easy to be packed and used.
To get powdery shape, it needs longer time on cooking the liquid and can't stop on stirring it until the coarse powder shape have formed.
The price for this sugar is more expensive.
This sugar is well known as palm sugar.
Just boil the nira for about 2-3 hours to get thicken liquid, then the liquid is ready to be strained and packed into the bottle.
The liquid coconut sugar is produced to process the fermented nira, that couldn't processed into block or coarse sugar.
Have you ever use coconut sugar on your kitchen?
Next we will talk about the coconut 'pulp'.
Please enjoy the series, and have a wonderful week.