Sri Lanka’s ‘Kitul’ palm syrup: An ancient sweetener
Kitul Tree of Sri Lanka is a palm tree found in many parts of Sri Lanka having the botanical name (Caryota Urens). It is similar to the coconut palm but not commercially grown as the coconut. The Kitul Tree was used by the villagers to manufacture treacle, sweet type of honey, and toddy an alcoholic beverage. At one time the owners of this tree had to get the government permit to tap and collect sap from their own trees. The reason was that many used the sap mainly to manufacture toddy and arrack which are alcoholic drinks. However it is safer than the locally produced moonshine illicit liquor known as “kassipu”.
The palm syrup which is produced from the bud can be used to make products such as treacle, toddy and jaggery. Kitul flour is used as an ingredient for large number of foods. Matured tree is good source of wood and can be used to produce furniture and other wooden products.
In certain areas Kitul trees are felled and fed to elephants in captivity. However now it has taken a unique place in the economy of the central province or elsewhere where the palm grows. Kitul grows on ranges of 5000 feet and above. It also grows on Himalayas, Nepal, Assam, and India in addition to Sri Lanka
In the olden days Kitul had a place in society where the sap from the unopened flower was used as a fermented drink, and also to make treacle which is a sweetened form of honey and Jaggery the hardened form of honey.
Jaggery is taken with tea of coffee instead of sugar. You need to be an expert to tap the sap from the kitul trees. You have to prepare the flower before opening, and introduce some medicinal herbs into a cavity made in the young flower, before opening up to get more sap. Eight bottles of sap will make one bottle of honey. It is turned into treacle by boiling the sap on a low fire for several hours. The treacle is used as a supplement to curd and yogurt.
- Health Benefits of Jaggery
Improves Digestion. It is recommended to take a few grams of jaggery after a heavy meal
or after eating meat because it facilitates digestion.
- As a Cleansing Agent.
- Relieves Constipation.
Rich in Minerals.
It is a natural Sweetener.
Treacle & curd dessert; Eaten once you will want it every day
Making Kitul Jaggery
Watch the video below to learn the manufacture of kitul honey and jaggery.
With the gradual increase in the standard of education, tappers of kitul trees waned away and there were no tappers for this task. The tapper has to climb the tree twice a day to collect the sap. This is a difficult task.
ORNAMENTS FROM KITUL WOOD
House hold items and ornaments are made from kitul wood. A rod of kitul with a circular diameter of 5-6 cm and 150cm long is used to pound rice, and other cereals. Wooden spoons made of kitul is used in the kitchen .
Market for kitul products is a problem and the manufactures have to find buyers on their own. The products are limited and big marketing enterprises do not handle it.
Support for such products has come from Sri Lanka German Economic strategy sport program me. The main task of the enterprise is to bring the manufacturer, product, the seller and buyer.
Tags: kitul tree, kitul flower, kitul tapper, jaggery,kitul tree of Sri Lanka,
Poted By:Donald Jayasundera(Registered Pharmacist,Licenced Insurance & Financial services consultant)