Get To Know Palm Sugar, A Popular Agricultural Product from Aren (Sugar Plam Trees)

Sugar Palm Trees

Are you familiar with sugar palm trees? At first glance this tree is similar to a coconut tree because it grows high up. Sugar palm trees is considered a native plant from Indonesia. We can find sugar palm in almost all regions in Indonesia, because this plant is closely related to local wisdom and Indonesian culture.


photo of palm trees in coffee plantation, personal documentation

Indonesian people have benefited from palm sugar for a long time, various agricultural products obtained include Nira Water, Palm Sugar, Pharmaceutical Alcohol, Bioethanol (fuel energy), Kolang Kaling, and Ijuk. In fact, some people in Tapanuli use palm roots as medicine for various diseases. In addition, Aren is very good for the sustainability of the environment and forests. Sugar palm is considered the best conservation plant, because of the nature of the plant that is able to store water in the soil up to 200 liters, so that the location planted by Aren tends to have cool air and is not prone to fires.

Palm sugar


Palm sugar is one of the most popular agricultural products from the palm plant today. The popularity of palm sugar is increasing along with the awareness of people's lives who want to consume healthy food. Palm sugar is widely used to provide an authentic sweet taste in food or drinks and also as a substitute for granulated sugar which is considered unhealthy and has higher calories.

Indonesian food and drinks are very attached to palm sugar. Palm sugar is often an important ingredient in making cakes and traditional Indonesian foods. Various foods that use palm sugar such as, Klepon, Putu Bambu, Lepat, Kolak, Lupis, Candil porridge etc. for drinks in Indonesia, there is Cendol which uses palm sugar as a sweetener and tastes very delicious.

Palm Sugar Making

Palm sugar is made from sap water. Nira water is a liquid that is obtained when tapping on a palm tree that produces flowers. The Tapanuli people give the name for sugar palm that produces palm sugar, male palm sugar, and female palm sugar which produces palm fruit. I will invite you to see how the process of making palm sugar in Situmba Village, Sipirok. I've stopped there and documented it.


The wiretapping process is still carried out using traditional tools and beliefs. Before being tapped the sap tree will be sung (or casted) and beaten for 30 times, then the sap tree that has been tapped will release water which is accommodated in a bamboo container and wait for about 12 hours until the bamboo container is full.

After getting the sap water, then the next process is carried out to cook palm sugar. For your information, Fresh Nira Water is a very delicious and fresh drink but it easily spoils at room temperature. Usually after one day it will change and ferment releasing gas and alcohol and then it becomes a traditional liquor called tuak.



Nira water is then filtered first, then boiled in a large skillet over medium heat, the tools and ingredients are still very traditional. The place for cooking palm sugar is usually separated from the house, this is because people still use wood for cooking and the effect will emit a very thick smoke. In addition, the process of cooking palm sugar also takes a long time of about 6 hours.

At first, palm sugar is white, but during the cooking process a color change occurs which indicates the caramelization process has occurred. The liquid sugar must be stirred frequently during the palm sugar cooking process, because palm sugar that is stirred too late can create a scorched smell.



Because the cooking process takes a long time and requires a lot of energy to do it, this process is always done by adult men. Palm sugar that has changed color to brown will then be printed according to the order or printed. Usually, palm sugar is molded into a size of 2 kg per mold, and then it will be sold to middlemen or agents.


The existence of sugar palm plants is a blessing for the people of Indonesia. In addition to having many benefits and also bring financial benefits for the family. However, the potential of sugar palm is still not well looked after by the Indonesian government, even though the economic and environmental benefits are far better than other plantation crops.

About Author

Call me Isdarmady, because I have a full name that is very long, namely Isdarmady Syahputra Ritonga. I am a head of the family who work as Farmers Vegetables Hydroponic and Consultant Hydroponics, sometimes I also sell coffee from various regions in Indonesia.
I have expertise dispensing coffee with a variety of techniques and tools brewing, because I have the desire to make a coffee shop with hydroponics as centerpieces. Help me realize that dream.

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Hello friend, greetings from Venezuela. I wanted to tell you something, I live in a small city called Cumaná, located in the east of Venezuela. Before the crisis we are going through, almost all the products and food based on this plant came from here. We had large sugar companies. In the second photo, what you have in your hand, here is known as "Papelón".

It is curious, very interesting and beautiful at the same time, the different cultures and countries of the world, we have things in common. In this case this creation of mother earth, the sugar plant or sugar palm.

Anyway, I love this post and I congratulate you for the wonderful work you have done. It is an excellent read to share. Thank you my friend.

Hugs and blessings 🙏.


hello friends, nice to meet you and have stopped by my post, I am very happy because of that.

I am sorry to hear about the economic and political crisis in Venezuela. I hope you all remain patient and can help each other to quickly rise from this crisis.

I'm not surprised to hear of this plant in South America. Because, our country has the same climate. Some plantation crops such as rubber, cacao, or coffee were brought by the Dutch colonials from South America to Indonesia to be planted on a large scale. Is it possible that the palm tree was brought along?

Our country does not have a palm sugar processing plant. everything is still done traditionally, because the palm trees are still in private gardens in the farmers' gardens. The government of our country, is more concerned with oil palm plantations, even though it is very bad for the environment.