Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday’s Helping: Sukang Tuba

A sweet and tangy palm vinegarThis special vinegar is made from fermenting coconut trees’ sap and floral nectar. Filipino commercial producers have learned to collect the rich liquid in a system that’s been used for generations. While we were growing up, our grandfather used bamboo cylinders to collect coconut tree sap. The freshly harvested liquid has a very sweet essence and taste.

Producers of sukang tuba use rubber cylinders to collect the tree sap. Each cylinder is affixed to the tree just under leaves. The farmers (also skilled tree climbers) must slice into the floral stem of the tree and the valuable sap seeps out and into the cylinders, which must be emptied every day.

A typical coconut tree produces about 1 liter of tuba aka sweet coconut sap on a daily basis. The collected liquid is stored away in vats for fermenting until the liquid is ripened into vinegar and ready for bottling. Look for a cloudy appearance and brownish tint in mature sukang tuba and expect a slightly sweet smell and taste. You may find this vinegar in a Filipino foods mart or Asian grocery stores.

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