Drink ‘Neera’ from November 1, beware of its shelf life

Neera is available only in Kasargod and Elathoor in Kozhikode districts

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Come Kerala formation day on November 1 and the consumers will get ‘Keraamrutham,’ sweet toddy aka Neera in all the 14 districts in the state with large-scale production being launched by the Neera Board under the aegis of the Coconut Development Corporation. Currently, Neera is available only in Kasargod and Elathoor in Kozhikode districts and what is being sold at the Vyttila Mobility Hub by the Coconut Development Board is raw Neera without processing.

The Neera Board was recently formed under the chairmanship of of Agriculture Production Commissioner Subrata Biswas and all the Neera products come under him. Until recently, the production and licensing of Neera had come under the excise department. As part of producing Neera on a large scale, training for staff was kicked off at Koorachundu in Kozhikode district on Friday under the aegis of Coconut Development Corporation.

According to Dr. Babu Mathew, principal investigator of Neera project in Thiruvananthapuram which comes under Kerala Agriculture University at Vellayani, it was started as a pilot project in three agriculture colleges in the state on a small scale. “Currently, Padanakkad Agriculture College in Kasargod only does large-scale production of 1,000 litres per day. The cost was very minimal in setting up the factory there as there are just two processes involved. We arrest the ferment process on the coconut tree itself when the tapper goes up to collect the Neera. In the second process, if we do the fermentation on the tree itself it is toddy and if not, it becomes Neera,” said Dr. Mathew.

But there has been a raging debate on its shelf life with Neera lovers claiming that once refrigerated, it gives a thin layer of skim giving a bitter taste unlike the normal soft drinks available in the market. But Dr. Mathew maintained that ‘Keraamrutham’ being processed at Kasargod has got a shelf life of three months which has been processed with permitted preservatives. “After the processing, Neera becomes rich by 19-20 percent in sugar which is amenable for bacterial content. The reason why Neera undergoes the process of carbonating is to reduce contamination,” added Dr. Mathew.

( Source : dc )
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