The easiest way to think about coconut nectar is that it’s basically the liquid form of coconut sugar – that’s what that sugar is originally made of, anyway, before the sap is dehydrated and crystallized. Like any type of sap, it can come in different grades, and the thicker, darker amber varieties of coconut nectar are very similar to maple syrup. The sap is obtained from tapping the stems or stalks of the flowering coconut blossom, and the resulting sap is low-glycaemic and packed with nutrients, from 17 amino acids to minerals and vitamins B and C. It’s also low in fructose, getting its sweetness from sucrose, which makes it easier for the intestine to process.
How do you use it?
One of the easiest ways to use this is anywhere else you’d typically use a similar syrup, such as maple syrup: Pour it over pancakes and waffles, French toast, or even ice cream, for instance. Alternatively, you can also just use it as a sweetener: Blend it into milkshakes and protein shakes, mocktails and the like – or even stir it into your tea or coffee in lieu of sugar or honey. You can also use it in baking and cooking, to create everything from breads and cakes to yoghurts, truffle balls, and more – just use it as a replacement for sugar. Another great idea? Using it as a glaze, on anything from fruits to meats!
When the coconut sap is first obtained from the plant, it actually comes out as a white, milky liquid. It’s then heated immediately at temperatures between 40-45 degrees Celsius for around 90 minutes to help it stop fermenting, which is how it ends up in the caramel-colour syrupy state that we are familiar with as coconut nectar. In Hawaii, coconut syrup is used as a topping for everything from pancakes to ice cream and even fruit, but it’s slightly different than what we know as “coconut nectar” – the coconut syrup in question is a thick, creamy and pale-coloured concoction made using coconut milk, a thickener (like cornstarch), sugar, salt, corn syrup, and vanilla.