Friday, August 31, 2012

palm sugar

Lontar palms provide a staple fuel for the villager,s and August is peak flow of the sweet sap.  It is drunk fresh by humans and pigs every morning and afternoon, and the remainder is boiled down to a thick syrup for storage over the wet season. The gula air is the consistency of honey and is mixed with water to make a natural cordial, free from artificial colourings and flavourings. We recommend it drizzled over vegan pancakes or spooned into ginger and lemongrass tea.  If the syrup is boiled for a further hour it hardens to toffee, and the molten goodness is poured into circular moulds made from strips of lontar leaf.  The cooled "biscuits" are called gula lemping and can be crushed to a delicious dark palm sugar, far superior to processed white death. I have an intimate knowledge of the tapping process - as good as one can while remaining safely on the ground - but had not seen a gula lemping pour until our recent outing to the interior.  Simple, sustainable & organic. Long may it last. 

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