Neera (Coconut Flower Sap)
Neera, the non-alcoholic and nutritious drink from the immature inflorescence of coconut can be promoted due to its potential for value addition, employment generation and better returns to the coconut farmers. The vascular sap collected from immature unopened coconut inflorescence is popularly known as “Neera” in fresh form. It is a sugar containing juice, a delicious health drink and a rich source of sugars, minerals and vitamins. It is sweet and oyster white in colour and translucent. It is tapped from the coconut inflorescence filtered, pasteurized, and bio preservatives added to preserve the product. Treated Neera can be preserved in cans upto 2 months at room temperature.
Uses of Neera
Neera is popular as a delicious health drink. It is good for digestion, facilitates clear urination and prevents jaundice. The nutrient-rich "sap" has low Glycemic Index (GI of only 35) and hence diabetic-friendly since very low amounts of the sugar is absorbed into the blood. It is an abundant source of minerals, 17 amino acids, vitamin C, broad-spectrum B vitamins, and has a nearly neutral pH. Diversified Value Added Products like coconut flower syrup, jaggery and coconut palm sugar are produced from Neera.
Composition of Neera
Coconut Flower Syrup
This is a product similar to coconut palm jaggery with high content of minerals. It is a rich source of potassium. It has good content of sodium and is free from total fats and cholesterol. It is produced when fresh Neera is heated and concentrated into a syrup.
Uses of coconut syrup
The product can be used for healthy food preparations, as topping on wide variety of appetizer, dessert or beverage, for delicious serving and for a healthy lifestyle. It is also used as a health drink in connection with Ayurveda and other systems of medicine.
Coconut Palm Jaggery
The strained unfermented coconut sap is boiled, crystallized and transferred into suitable moulds to prepare jaggery. The semisolid jaggery solidifies gradually by the cooling effect of the atmosphere into a crystallized hard substance. The recovery of jaggery from syrup is 15%. It is used as a sweetening agent for the preparation of dishes and is superior to cane jaggery.
Nutritional composition of coconut palm jaggery (in 100g)
Coconut Palm Sugar
The coconut palm syrup or jaggery can be crystallized to produce fine granules of sugar. Transition of coconut jaggery into a ground granule sweetener is more accepted by global markets. The recovery of palm sugar from coconut palm jaggery is 15%. The application of this sugar is tremendous and offers huge potential owing to its most important health attributes, the low Glycemic index and the high nutrient content. It can be the most suited alternative sweetner, especially when agave sugar is being rejected owing to the high fructose content. This alternative sugar industry is estimated to be a $1.3 billion industry and hence the market prospects are enormous. It is understood that in producing countries like Indonesia, around 50,000 MT of coconut sugar is produced per month and 6 lakh MT produced per year. The product has good local market in Indonesia.
Nutritional composition of coconut palm sugar (in 100g)
Economics of production of Neera* and value added products from Neera
*Commercialization of Neera is possible only after amendment of Abkari Act.
Estimated returns from Neera
Estimated returns from coconut palm jaggery
Tapping of 25% of
inflorescences (3 inflorescence) in a palm for
production of Neera will yield additional income
to the farmer and to the tapper, without much
reduction in yield. The Coconut farmer
communities in the Federations of CPS can work
out a viable proportion of production of Neera
and jaggery so that the products can cater to
defined segments of the society. Neera being a
sweet and nutritious health drink can be
promoted among all sections of the society.
Coconut palm jaggery owing to their low Glycemic
Index can be positioned as a safe and healthy
alternative sweetener. If we convert jaggery
further to coconut palm sugar, value addition is
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Toddy tapping is an organised industry in traditional coconut growing tracts in the country. Toddy on fermentation becomes an alcoholic drink. Arrack and vinegar are also manufactured from coconut toddy. In Goa commercial arrack obtained by distillation of coconut toddy is known as coconut fenny.
Coconut Oil Cake
Coconut cake is the residue left after the extraction of oil from copra which is mainly used as a cattle feed. Coconut cake contains 4-5 per cent oil which is extracted by solvent extraction process. This oil is generally used for industrial purpose and de-oiled cake is used to make mixed cattle feed. There are a few such units in the country especially in Kerala.
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