Neera, also called Sweet Toddy or Palm Nectar is a sap extracted from Inflorescence of various species of Toddy palms. It is sweet, oyster white, and translucent. It is widely consumed in India, Srilanka, Africa, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar
Neera is a non-alcoholic and unfermented beverage. Once fermented, neera gets converted to toddy.
Composition of Neera
Neera, the sweet sap of the Palm, is fast becoming a popular drink on account of its highly nutritive value, delicious taste and agreeable flavor. It requires neither mechanical crushing, as in the case of cane, nor leaching like that of beet-root; it is obtained by slicing the spathes of the Palmyra, Coconut and Sago Palms, and scraping the tender most part, just below the crown, of the Date Palm.
The chemical percentage composition of Neera varies, depending on various factors, namely, place, type of palm, mode and season of its collection.
Substance Concentration (g/100 mL) Sucrose 12.3 - 17.4 Total ash 0.11 - 0.41 Protein 0.23 - 0.32 Ascorbic acid 0.016 - 0.030 Total solids 15.2 - 19.7
Neera is highly susceptible to natural fermentation at ambient temperature within few hours of extraction from palms. Once fermented, it transforms to toddy with 4% alcohol. Using several technologies developed by various research institutes, neera can be processed and preserved in its natural form to retain the vitamins, sugar, and other nutrients beneficial for health. To preserve and extend the shelf life of neera, heat preservation techniques such as pasteurization are used.
A special filtration technique to enhance the shelf life of neera was developed by the National Chemical Laboratory in Pune, India. Technologies for the preservation and processing of neera were also developed by the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore, India.
Production and use in India
- In Maharastra and Gujarat state, neera is made available through various outlets known as "Neera Vikri Kendra" (Neera sale center). The Neera Palm Product Cooperative Society had set up small green kiosks that sell neera on all major railway stations, but they are now only found on on highways and expressways outside of the Mumbai city area,. Neera is extracted from palms by the Bhandari variety of trees.
- In Andhra Pradesh state, neera is extracted and sold by the Goud caste. Unlike other states, there is no state government sponsorship/support to promote neera or its by-products at retail outlets. Only The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is promoting neera as a health drink.
- In Karnataka state, neera is extracted and sold by Ediga and Billava castes. The state government constituted a Neera Board comprising farmers, state government officials, and neera training institutes to inspect and control the quality of neera and its products, give approvals to labels, and come out with various schemes for sale in the international market. The Central Food Technological Research Institute developed the technology to preserve neera for 2 months and the government plans to promote neera as an energy drink with medicinal value packaged in sachets and bottles.
- In Kerala, neera is extracted and sold by the a section Ezhava caste, a section of Oorali Nairs, a section of maniyanis and tribal and scheduled communities. The state government, as part of the Kerala Vision 2010, setup three units to manufacture neera.
- In Tamilnadu state, neera is extracted and sold by the Nadar caste. It is also called Padhaneer.
- In Orissa state, the state government established a cooperative organisation known as Orissa State Palmgur Cooperative Federation to provide technological support in the processing and production of neera and its associated by-products such as Jaggery, Candy, and etc.
Neera in fiction
Neera is also the name of a famous female character in Paigham Afaqui's Urdu novel Makaan.
- ^ a b "Neera Board in Karnataka supports marketing". FoodIndustryIndia.com. May 21, 2007. http://www.foodindustryindia.com/newfood/detailnews.jsp?n=Neera%20Board%20in%20Karnataka%20supports%20marketing&id=110.
- ^ a b "Preserved Coconut Sap". Defence Research and Development Organisation. April 2005. http://www.drdo.org/pub/techfocus/april05/coconut_sap.htm.
- ^ a b c "Neera comes to rescue of toddy-tappers". The Hindu. June 30, 2005. http://www.hindu.com/2005/06/30/stories/2005063001060200.htm.
- ^ "Neera, palm tree juice that could go Amul way". Indo-Asian News Service. May 17, 2008. http://www.calcuttanews.net/story/360264.
- ^ a b "`Neera' to be promoted as nutritious energy drink". The Hindu. May 30, 2007. http://www.hindu.com/2007/05/30/stories/2007053006640400.htm.
- ^ "Jaggery (Gur, Bellam) ~ Sugarcane and Palm". Mahanandi. November 26, 2006. http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/archives/2006/11/26/jaggery-gur-bellam-sugarcane-and-palm/.
- ^ "Palm Sugar". Encyclopedia of Asian Food. 1998. http://www.asiafood.org/glossary_2.cfm?wordid=2825.
- ^ "Palm Candy". Acex Solutions. 2006. http://www.palmsugar.com/palm_candy.htm.
- ^ "Getting A Kick Out Of Toddy!". Upper Crust. http://www.uppercrustindia.com/14crust/fourteen/season3.htm.
- ^ "Kerala Govt to set up three units for `Neera'". The Hindu Business Line. February 26, 2006. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2006/02/27/stories/2006022700591700.htm.
- ^ "Our Profile". ORISSA RAJYA TALGUR SAMABAYA SANGHA LTD.. http://www.orissapalmcrafts.com/.
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